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Knowledge of the kinetics of solid state reactions is important when considering the stability of many medicines. Potentially, such reactions could follow different kinetics on the surface of particles when compared with their interior, yet solid state processes are routinely followed using only bulk characterisation techniques. Atomic force microscopy (AFM) has previously been shown to be a suitable technique for the investigation of surface processes, but has not been combined with bulk techniques in order to analyse surface and bulk kinetics separately. This report therefore describes the investigation of the outer layer and bulk kinetics of the dehydration of trehalose dihydrate at ambient temperature and low humidity, using AFM, dynamic vapour sorption (DVS) and near infrared spectroscopy (NIR). The use of AFM enabled the dehydration kinetics of the outer layers to be determined both directly and from bulk data. There were no significant differences between the outer layer dehydration kinetics determined using these methods. AFM also enabled the bulk-only kinetics to be analysed from the DVS and NIR data. These results suggest that the combination of AFM and bulk characterisation techniques should enable a more complete understanding of the kinetics of certain solid state reactions to be achieved.