Scientists create ice cream factory in a pot

Scientists say they can simulate the production processes for ice cream on a small scale

French researchers have managed to capture the complex processes involved in ice cream manufacturing in a simulator the size of a yoghurt pot they say is capable of modelling the entire production chain.

Simulating what happens in actual production conditions in the laboratory lets food companies test a large number of formulations in a short period of time. 

Scientists at the Cemagref centre for agricultural and environmental engineering research say the 100ml vessel can accurately mimic the changes in temperature, speed and mechanical shearing forces that would be experienced in an industrial process handling volumes of more than 500 litres an hour.

This equipment was developed within the SIMPFRI project financed by the French National Agency for Research as part of a National Project for Research on Nutrition and Human Foods launched in 2005. 

The initiative aims to improve understanding of the phenomena of microbial contamination in cooling equipment and improve the energy performance of this equipment. Another simulator developed in collaboration with dairy products giant Danone that uses the same principles to study cooking and cooling of milk-based desserts was patented in 2005.

“Even the small prototype can describing and predict the changes in flow behaviour of products are now possible in extreme conditions – at -40°C for example – varying the parameters such as duration, flow speed, pressure, temperature, scraping, and rotor speed,” Cemagref said.

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