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Texture Analysis Professionals Blog

How to measure and analyse the texture of food, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and adhesives.

Tuesday, 21 June 2022

The Stickiness of Food

Stickiness is a difficult attribute to measure. Adhesion is characterised by the force of attraction between a material and a surface. This phenomenon occurs in several processes (such as baking, chocolate or powder production, bacterial adhesion to industrial plants), causing product losses and contamination. In this sense, parameters as surface energy and food composition play an essential role in adhesion study, being an essential field of understanding to optimise processes. A recent review approaches the adhesion fundamentals and their relation to food composition and surface properties. Moreover, it describes the tests usually applied to measure the adhesion of food on surfaces. Besides, this work shows that, regarding the literature, it is difficult to differentiate the adhesive from the cohesive forces. Food adhesion in different dryers and alternative to reduce the problem are discussed, considering that the deposition of dried material on supports and dryer walls causes low yields and operational and handling problems.

Tuesday, 14 June 2022

Types of Test to Characterise Mechanical Properties of Polymers: Flexure and Friction

FLEXURE 

Example standard methods: ASTM D790, ISO 178 

Flexural testing, commonly referred to as ‘three-point bend testing’, involves a long sample placed on two supports (or “rollers” due to their curved surface) a set distance apart, with a third roller moving down to contact the sample halfway between these supports. In some situations, two rollers are lowered onto the sample to instigate fourpoint bend testing. The loading arm moves down at a constant speed to bend the sample. If the sample is sufficiently brittle and the force required within the limit of the load cell, fracture will occur. 

Tuesday, 3 May 2022

Types of Test to Characterise Mechanical Properties of Polymers: Puncture, Compression and Indentation

Puncture   

In some cases, variations on tensile testing can be simpler than the traditional, two grips method, while still providing the results needed by the manufacturer or researcher. 

The Film Support Rig allows the measurement of the mechanical properties of fine films. Prior to performing the test, the sample is placed over a hole in a raised Perspex platform. A top plate prevents the sample from slipping during testing. The test is then carried out as the arm of the Texture Analyser brings a 5mm stainless steel ball probe down into the aperture. The sample is placed into a state of biaxial tension. The maximum force to rupture the film is recorded and is referred to as the burst strength of the sample. 

Types of Tests to Characterise Mechanical Properties of Polymers: Tension

POLYMER TEST TYPES 

Stable Micro Systems manufactures instruments that measure the tensile and compressional properties of polymers. As with any manufacturing innovation, the end product must go through a quality control process to assess its physical properties. A Texture Analyser is a crucial part of this procedure, giving a reliable way to test the mechanical (and sensorial) properties of items by applying a choice of compression, tension, extrusion, adhesion, bending or cutting tests to measure a product’s physical properties e.g. tensile strength, snap force, brittleness, compressibility, to name but a few. 

Mechanical Measurement of Polymers using a Texture Analyser – Introduction

Polymers are found in every corner of the modern world. Films, foams, adhesives, coatings, rubbers, composites, textiles and fibres, to name a few, can take many forms. Their uses are both functional and cosmetic, but wherever and however they are used, they must be fit for purpose. A large part of their research and development and quality control processing revolves around the measurement of mechanical properties. Many polymers are used in the form of engineering materials, but there are also natural polymers in foods (e.g. gluten, pectin or gelatin), wood, paper and other materials, which must be tested to the same extent. 

Reducing fat in food and the effect on texture

Delicious desserts, mouth-watering canapes, mind-blowing buffets… no doubt you will have experienced these during the festive season and have started noticing the consequences. Your consumers will have put on some unwelcome pounds too and will be looking for several solutions to remove them. It’s likely that they will turn to the reduced-fat versions of their preferred food choices. However, texture plays a large part in consumer enjoyment and expectations of textural attributes remain high. When reformulating your products you will be looking for change that show as little impact as possible. Understanding the impact on texture and the potential implications of these texture changes is crucial in ensuring new product launches aren’t a miss with consumers.

Plant-Based Meat Progress

The plant-forward movement is increasingly gaining traction. The likelihood remains that most people will not become vegetarian or vegan—rather, people will reduce their animal protein intake because it’s good for them to do so. Technology will also help drive that transition. Continuous efforts in research and development by plant-based meat manufacturers in terms of aroma, texture and shelf life of these new products is taking place all over the world. Specific users of the Stable Micro Systems Texture Analyser are employing texture analysis to optimise their products:

The latest in dairy product innovation using Texture Analysis

There has been a tremendous boom in the fortification of dairy products in recent years with the aim to often enhance the ability of consumers to prevent or combat numerous non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, hypercholesterolemia and cancer. Additionally fortified dairy products are suitable for supplying children and teenagers with additional minerals that are essential for growth or aimed at older people where calcium plays a major part. Active ingredients used in the formulation of functional foods giving such health benefits include vitamins such as vitamin B and D, minerals such as calcium and iron, plant derived ingredients such as phenolic compounds or extracts, essential oils and dietary fibre, and animal derived ingredients such as omega-3 fatty acids.