Specifically for the food processing industries,materials characterisation is of critical importance in many processes (including fluid related issues like sedimentation, flotation, time related structural decay or build-up, mouthfeel, and solid food issues like brittleness, hardness, strength – compressive & extensional – elasticity, crispness, staleness, crustiness etc). These processes depend on fluid rheological parameters such as viscosity, elasticity, creep and recovery, thixotropic tendencies and yield stress, and solid material properties such as extensional and compressive behaviour under various loading conditions.
The Rheology Solutions applications laboratory has state of the art equipment, capable of measuring all of the above parameters, and of providing interpretation of the results when necessary. Laboratory equipment includes highly sensitive, specialised, modern instrumentation and sensor systems, for measuring complex or difficult fluids such as those with very low viscosity (such as some supernatants or beverages), or those with a highly settling solid phase, or highly elastic liquids. Solids performance according to various international standards can also be monitored. Information such as shear viscosity curves, thixotropic behaviour and flow curves may be obtained for interested clients. Additionally, of importance to the food industry, when scientifically assessing changes in mouthfeel due to temporal or ingredient issues, viscoelastic moduli as a function of either shear rate or strain can be assessed. Structural decay and recovery under very low shear (like in the case of storage, gravity settling, chewing etc) or very high shear (pumping, mixing etc) are possible using the advanced equipment and sensors available at the laboratory of Rheology Solutions. These measurements may be obtained as a function of temperature, solids density, or to monitor the effects of changes in additive/ingredient species or concentration.
With this information the scientist or engineer may change the process, or design new unit operations or products to maximise the potential benefits to be obtained from the physical properties of the processed fluid.
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