Our range of instruments can carry out fundamental, empirical and imitative tests, covering those relating to texture analysis, materials science and rheology of solid, semi-solid, viscous liquid, powder and granulate materials.
Food Texture Properties
Foods are a selection of semi-solid, soft-solid, viscoelastic materials, and occasionally hard solids. Oral processing of these foods starts with either biting a portion from a larger piece or placing a piece in the mouth. Food texture is one of the key properties consumers evaluate when determining food quality and acceptability and embraces a large number of textural characteristics or properties.
Specific textural elements of a food are evaluated by descriptive sensory analysis; however, the time and costs of sensory analysis have motivated the empirical development of mechanical tests that correlate with sensory analysis of texture. Now parameters can be objectively obtained that present measures of, for example, crispness of a potato chip, spreadability of margarine or the firmness of an old fashioned, New York style bagel.
Physical Properties of Materials
While food scientists were evaluating mechanical properties to understand subjective texture, material scientists were developing rheological and fracture-mechanics approaches to understand material properties in general. Materials have physical or textural/mechanical properties that are also perceived and are measurable. From an engineering perspective, an engineer would need to know and usually measure the mechanical properties of a material in order to make an informed decision when designing something.
The main physical concept behind measuring mechanical properties is stress. Stress tells you how big a force applies to an area. The second important concept is strain which is a ratio of lengths. From these two concepts the Young’s Modulus can be derived which is a measure of stiffness/elasticity – important factors for engineers when deciding material suitability for a certain application. In addition, such parameters as adhesion, abrasion, friction, flexure, strength etc. can be measured.
Specialist attachments enable the instrument to emulate forces applied to products in everyday consumption or usage. The data captured by Exponent software during the test procedure is used to generate graphs which detail the reaction of each test sample to specified forces.
Below is shown a range of textural properties that Stable Micro Systems tends to encounter most often...