Thursday, July 02, 2009

Cryst. Growth Des., 2009, 9 (7), pp 3111–3118

Rheo-NMR Measurements of Cocoa Butter Crystallized Under Shear Flow
Elizabeth M. Mudge and Gianfranco Mazzanti*

Modifications of a benchtop NMR instrument were made to apply temperature control to a shearing NMR cell. This has enabled the determination in situ of the solid fat content (SFC) of cocoa butter under shearing conditions. The cocoa butter was cooled at 3 °C/min to three final temperatures of 17.5, 20.0, and 22.5 °C with applied shear rates between 45 and 720 s−1. Polymorphic transitions of the cocoa butter were determined using synchrotron X-ray diffraction with an identical shearing system constructed of Lexan. Sheared samples were shown to have accelerated phase transitions compared to static experiments. In experiments where form V was confirmed to be the dominant polymorph, the final SFC averaged around 50%. However, when other polymorphic forms were formed, a lower SFC was measured because the final temperature was within the melting range of that polymorph and only partial crystallization happened. A shear rate of 720 s−1 delayed phase transitions, likely due to viscous heating of the sample. Pulsed NMR is an invaluable tool for determining the crystalline fraction in hydrogen containing materials, yet its use for fundamental and industrial research on fat or alkanes crystallization under shear has only recently been developed.

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