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New applications based on flow processing for structure engineering of particles on the micron scale

By combining structure kinetics with elongation flow at well-defined rates and residence times a fixation of the drop deformation within a narrow range can be obtained. This allows for a more uniform flow-induced structuring at reduced energy input than has been possible up to now. The concept opens up possibilities to create new structure elements of significance for the texture and the final acceptance of the consumer.

Shapes such as rods, ellipsoids, spheres etc can be generated. Shapes can trigger interactions of high phase volume emulsions and lead to different shape-dependent rheological and sensorial properties. By flow-induced structuring, products with a range of properties can be generated from the same mixture of ingredients. This means that raw materials can be used in a more efficient way to increase stability with a lesser need of unwanted stabilising agents etc. The basic knowledge to generate droplets with preferred characteristics, for instance small droplets with a narrow size distribution, can also be used for the production of active particles, such as micro-capsules carrying functional components. This can improve the over all quality of the food and the micro-capsules can carry functional components such as vitamins, antioxidants, flavours. The outcome of this project will be of importance not only for the emulsions dealt with here, but also for other structured food products.

The double-capillary-process principally generates two concentric droplets and produces core-shell-capsules with an elastic biopolymer skin and an inner phase that always remains in a liquid state. Threadlike particles with typical sizes of 1.8mm were formed. Production with thinner capillaries leads to smaller capsules. The active agent solved in the aqueous inner core can be chosen independently from the biopolymer shell material, unless it weakens the stability of the enclosing membrane.

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