What happens when you mix water jet cutting and chocolate milk?
Don’t worry, this isn’t a bad joke, nor do you need to imagine chocolate milk being used to cut industrial parts.
However, remarkably, water jet cutting could have a role in the production of chocolate milk, and a role that has nothing to do with cutting parts.
Processing chocolate milk with a high-pressure water jet – as delivered by a water jet cutting machine improves the product, this is the verdict of researchers at Penn University.
Why is this so? What possible good could there be in blasting a water jet at chocolate milk?
The processing helps to keep the chocolate milk smooth, it remains smooth and enticing on the shelf for weeks. However, it also removes the need to use carrageenan, a somewhat controversial emulsifier that is typically used in chocolate milk production in the US – it is banned in the EU and so too the UK as food standards currently stand.
Carrageenan has a long history of usage in the food industry, but it has also been heavily linked to many health conditions – we don’t claim to be experts in food safety and so suggest you read up further if interested.
The key point however is that processing with a water jet seems to make the emulsifier unnecessary, and there has to be benefit in removing emulsifiers, artificial preservatives and flavourings and more if possible.
To quote the phys.org site, the process worked by:
“In the study, researchers thermally treated fat-free chocolate milk formulations containing skim milk, cocoa powder and sugar and then processed them using high-pressure jet technology from 125 to 500 megapascals. The viscosity, flow properties and stability of chocolate milk treated with high-pressure jets were compared with chocolate milks that did not undergo high-pressure jet processing, prepared both with and without adding carrageenan.”
The experiments did lead to greater separation within the chocolate milk being visible than would be the case with an emulsifier – though they are working to increase the duration of treatment to rectify this. Also, you can always just shake the drink!
The researchers also gave a nice insight into the pressure of the water jet. As it exits the nozzle, it is travelling at three times the speed of sound. The pressure is five times that found at the deepest part of the deepest ocean.
To go further into the technicalities, please head to the original blog post.
What is of more interest to us is that new applications are being found for water jet cutting – high-speed water jets having multiple uses.
The jets are sterile, they are highly accurate, they create minimal waste and they have extraordinary power. This is a compelling combination and one that enables people to think beyond the traditional uses.
We have seen this in cutting itself – how water jet cutting has moved form cutting parts for industry to also being key to food production and even being a tool of choice for sculptors.
World domination may be a way off, but expect to see the use of water jets only continue to grow,
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