Advanced tensile testing as a new tool to quantify properties of food

Miek Schlangen, Erik Schlangen, Atze Jan van der Goot*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Mechanical properties of food products are regularly analysed by tensile tests. The aim of this study was to demonstrate the potential of using advanced tensile testing techniques to better understand the mechanical properties of anisotropic food products, such as meat analogues and certain dairy products. The effects of various tensile testing parameters, including tensile gauge length and deformation rate, on the interpretation of mechanical properties of meat analogues was studied. Additionally, digital image correlation, an image analysis technique, was used for true distance recording and analysis of fracturing behaviour of the products. An isotropic product was prepared from solely soy protein isolate, and an anisotropic product was prepared from soy protein isolate and pectin using the shear cell technology. The tensile properties of the products were studied with four different moulds with varying gauge lengths of 17.5, 15, 11.5, and 8.5 mm, and at three deformation rates of 46.2, 23.1, and 11.6 mm/min. A smaller gauge length and slower deformation rate improved visualization and interpretation of the multi-stage descending branch in force – distance curves of anisotropic products. Additionally, tensile parameters, specifically toughness, proved to be more accurate at small gauge length and slow deformation rate, because overestimation due to rapid crack propagation was prevented. True distance data obtained with digital image correlation further improved the interpretation of the fracturing behaviour of the products. Inhomogeneous strain distribution in anisotropic products was shown with digital image correlation, in contrast to the homogeneous strain distribution observed in isotropic products. Furthermore, the Poisson's ratio, obtained through digital image correlation, explained inherent differences in structure and plasticity between isotropic and anisotropic meat analogues. This study shows the importance of careful selection of testing parameters and techniques. Moreover, it advises the use of digital image correlation for better measurement of fracture mechanics and strain distribution.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100577
JournalCurrent Research in Food Science
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2023


  • Digital image correlation
  • Meat analogue
  • Mechanical property
  • Poisson's ratio
  • Tensile test


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