A device that can measure and predict how liquids flow under different conditions will ensure consumer products from make up to ketchup are of the right consistency.
The technology developed at the University of Sheffield enables engineers to monitor, in real time, how the viscous components (rheology) of liquids change during a production process, making it easier, quicker and cheaper to control the properties of the liquid.
The research is a joint project between the University's Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, and the School of Mathematics and Statistics. A paper describing the innovation is published today in the journal Measurement Science and Technology.
Dr Julia Rees from the University's Department of Applied Mathematics, who co-authored the study, says: "Companies that make liquid products need to know how the liquids will behave in different circumstances because these different behaviours can affect the texture, the taste or even the smell of a product."
The viscosity of most liquids changes under different conditions and designers often use complicated mathematical equations to determine what these changes might be.
The team from Sheffield has now developed a way of predicting these changes using a non-invasive sensor system that the liquid simply flows through. The sensor feeds information back through an electronic device that calculates a range of likely behaviours.
Dr Rees explains: "Measuring the individual components of a liquid's viscosity is called rheometry. We can produce equations to measure a liquid's total viscosity, but the rheology of most liquids is very complicated. Instead, we look at properties in a liquid that we can measure easily, and then apply maths to calculate the viscosity. The sensor device we have developed will be able to make these calculations for companies using a straightforward testing process."
Companies developing new p
|Contact: Jo Kelly|
University of Sheffield