The strength of a gel can be a very important characteristic both as a final good and as an ingredient. Gelatin can be consumed as a whole in a product such as gelatin snack cups. It is also often used binding agent in any number of other products.
The strength a gel has refers to how strong structurally it is said to be. The test involves using small cylinder probe to penetrate a set distance into the sample, almost to the point of rupture, and then returning back to the starting point.
The TL Pro Software was used the measure both the peak force along with area under the curve (work). Depending on the processor’s intended use of the gel (final good or ingredient), they can use the objective data from the texture analyzer to make informed decisions about their product.
Case Study: Gelatin Snacks Regular and Sugar-Free
Carrageenan is an ingredient that is a used widely in the food industry as a texture modifier. As its effect can vary in the preparation, it is important to understand the textural attributes of the raw ingredient. Since it is gel in its prepared form, it is tested using a method similar to that of other gels.
A small cylinder probe is used to penetrate into the sample and then return to the starting point. The software then calculates some points that are relative to the textural properties of the carrageenan. These generally include peak force (firmness) and are under the curve (work).
These data can then be correlated to quality aspects of the ingredient that can affect the processing parameters of the final product.
Case Study: Carrageenan Penetration Strength
The resistance to breaking or bursting when under pressure is a key quality point for gel capsules. These products consist of a thin outer layer that contains a gel or liquid on the inside, and are typically a delivery method for medicines.
During processing, it is important for the outer wall to be strong enough to contain the inner product, while still being able to be dissolved quickly once consumed. To test the product, a single gel capsule was placed on the texture analyzer and a compression platen fixture selected. The sample was then compressed to the point where it failed and ruptured.
The force needed to crush the sample to the point of failure was calculated and recorded. This force can be directly correlated with the strength of the capsules, giving the manufacturer valuable objective information in regards to the quality of their product.
Case Study: Gel Capsule Rupture Strength