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The Large Knife Edge can be used to apply a precision force to any number of small samples. It is designed to replicate the force a cutting utensil or tooth applies to a food product. It is particularly useful for small particulate product such as nuts.
This specific test was on different varieties of almonds. Depending on the variation, the samples could behave differently during further processing or consumption.
Using this setup to measure the force needed to shear a sample can be used to predict how these different samples are going to react during the process. Additionally, it can be an indication of what the consumer should expect upon consumption in both a raw or processed (cut, diced, sliced, etc.) form.
The Kramer shear cell is one of the widely used methods in the food texture testing. The primary benefit is more consistent and repeatable results due to the increased sample size. It also allows the product to be tested as the sum of its parts instead of on a piece to piece basis.
For this test, a set amount of pasta was placed in the sample box of the shear cell. The blades moved down to compress and shear through the product. The software then produces a force/distance curve from which the firmness of the product can be calculated.
This objective data can then be used to better understand parameters like how cooking times and raw ingredient variations can affect the final product.
Case Study:Pasta Firmness and Cook Profile
Many foods, such as rice are consumed as a whole instead of on an individual piece by piece basis.
It only makes sense to test them in a similar manner. Using the Kramer Shear Cell allows the product to be tested in this bulk form. For the test, the rice was first prepared according to the instructions on the packaging.
Each sample was then immediately placed in the shear cell. The upper blades of the shear cell then compressed and sheared the product until it was extruded through the bottom of the cell. The TL Pro Software then calculated the force that was needed to perform the test replication.
Higher values are representative of a product that can be said to be more firm. Processors can use this information to determine how certain changes in formulation can affect the final product.
Case Study: Rice White and Brown Rice Firmness
Spaghetti noodles are often tested in the dry, uncooked form using a simple subjective sensory method.
This typically involves a person breaking the sample in their hands. This type of test is an indication of the strength of the final uncooked product.
The strength of the uncooked product is especially important when considering whether or not it is going to break during the production and shipping process.
The spaghetti snap fixture allows the TMS Pro Texture Analyzer to bend and break individual pieces of the pasta in a consistent and objective manner. The data gathered from the TMS Pro is able to correlate directly with the force needed to break the pasta. This sometimes referred to as brittleness.