The structure of a food product determines many of its properties. Control over structure formation is therefore of crucial importance for modern product design and innovation. An important group of food products comprise high amounts of biopolymers. Those products are normally produced using a high shear process, such as mixing or extrusion.
Design of these high shear processes is still more art than science. Reasons for this are complex shear fields inside high-shear equipment, but also lack of knowledge of the effect of shear forces and deformation on food components. Our group developed unique experimental facilities to study the effect of well-defined process conditions onto biopolymer product properties.
In all projects, main focus is on structure formation in biopolymer systems using shear. We study the effect of shear on self assembly, but shear is also used to induce structure in (soft) solid products such as dough or protein-fat mixtures.