Food Manufacture and Performance

Lead Research Organisation: University of Birmingham
Department Name: Chemical Engineering


Tribology has been identified as a beneficial technique when trying to understand material behaviour of products such as semi-solid/liquid foods in the mouth or consumer care products on the skin. The technology is relatively underdeveloped when compared to other techniques such as rheology for use in this product area. Current work either examines relatively simple systems (single emulsions/ suspensions/ hydrocolloids) or develops the technique to better represent the relevant phenomena experienced in-vivo. The reason for this first focus is that the current measurements under static conditions show limitations in correlations and the ability to make consistent measurements when dealing with materials with complex behaviour (such as a drastic shear dependant viscosity/high viscosity or systems with large particulates). The second focus is a result of dynamic behaviour of some complex structures (phase change, shear induced destabilisation or aggregation of components) and to try to address the lack of inclusion of factors such as high roughness of oral/skin surfaces and bio-coatings found in these environments (saliva/oils).

It is believed a combined approach of targeting complex, novel structures currently under development at UoB (multiple emulsions, gel particulate suspensions, highly viscous suspensions/nano emulsions) while developing the tribology measurement sophistication would lead to more versatile technologies being developed along with better understanding of material performance.

Research Project Objectives:
1. Identify potential complex structures of interest. (Initial focus on fluid gel structures with yield stresses, dynamic flow behavior and model wax based hand cream formulations - high viscosity materials) develop understanding of structural characteristics.
2. Develop tribology measurements to include more complex factors and dynamic measurements (designed surface topologies through 3D printed molds, surface coatings to represent saliva/skin oil layers and controlled timed experiments)
3. Focused assessment of sample structures with preliminary sensory evaluation carried out. (comparison of novel structures with existing 'simple' formulations, in-vivo/in-vitro comparisons. Coupled with complementary techniques such as rheology and microscopy)


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/N509590/1 01/10/2016 30/09/2021
1790055 Studentship EP/N509590/1 01/10/2016 30/09/2019 Brogan Lee Taylor