Manufacturers in the food industry need information about the dynamic phenomena, which occur at the very first moments in the fabrication of emulsions or the appearance of foams, which are fundamental for the long-term quality of their products. However there are currently no instruments available to provide such measurements, particularly for determining interfacial tension at high frequencies (up to 100 times/second, for interfacial tensions down to 1 mN/m) and the visco-elastic properties of the interfaces.
This project was concerned with adapting the technology of the automated drop tensiometers already developed by IT CONCEPT in order to offer an instrument meeting the needs of the food industry. The project was carried out by IT CONCEPT/France, with two European major companies in the food industry as partners:
- UNILEVER for the application of the instrument in the development of emulsions in processed food
- CIVC (Comité Interprofessionnel du Vin de Champagne), which is a French Technical Professional Organization grouping the champagne wine manufacturers, owning its own research centres and expertise centres, for the application of the instrument in the control of the formation of foams in drinks.
This project began in 1995 with a definition phase that indicated a wide ranging interest in a new instrument for measuring the characteristics of foams and emulsions by measuring the dynamic interface properties or droplets. The project included testing of two prototype instruments in the food industry and in the drinks industry (champagne) and further development of a third prototype. The testing and dissemination of the equipment was successfully achieved and technical reports/ papers produced. A number of in house demonstrations in companies were achieved and wider dissemination achieved through leaflets and conference presentations.