Flowing from rheology to tribology. Resolving the rub in food friction

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterAcademic


There is an increasing need to understand the behaviour of foods in terms of their mouthfeel, in which both rheological and tribological aspects play a role. Rheology is able to capture the first parts of oral food processing, where there is a large fluid pressure separating the surfaces of the tongue and the palate. This would correspond to the hydrodynamic regime of the friction or Stribeck curve [1, 2, 3]. As the fluid film becomes thinner, sample behaviour moves towards the
mixed regime of the Stribeck curve and can no longer be described by rheology. This regime therefore requires tribological interpretation. The tribology lens gives more insight into sensory attributes such as creaminess, fattiness or smoothness of the food system [2, 3]. However, the different friction meters or tribometers currently being used have their limitations. The frictional behaviour of soft solids depends on both the physicochemical characteristics of the gel and on the conditions used during measurement, making it more complex than the frictional behaviour of solids [4]. We aim to add microscopic insight to the tribology field by a combination of novel rheotribology tools and optical tweezer experiments. To demonstrate the effectiveness of our approach, we perform friction measurements on different soft solids and reveal the role of adhesion, electrostatics and lubrication. These new advances in rheology and tribology both give more insight into gel friction and may lead to the development of new (food) materials with previously unattainable characteristics.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 7 Sep 2017
EventIbereo 2017: The multidisciplinary science of rheology - Valencia, Spain
Duration: 6 Sep 20178 Sep 2017
Conference number: AN-P2


ConferenceIbereo 2017


  • Rheology
  • Tribology
  • Soft solids
  • Friction

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