Time dependence in jamming and unjamming

A. Parker

Research output: Thesisinternal PhD, WU


Three different food systems have been studied: emulsion/polymer mixtures, gelatin gels and carrageenan gels. Typically, samples are trapped, or jammed, far from equilibrium. The simple jamming paradigm suggests that, once in the jammed state, these systems are static. This useful approximation is often too simple, since these systems frequently evolve in time. Their evolution has been measured systematically. Where possible, these results have been placed in the context of the physics of out-of-equilibrium systems.
The emulsion/polymer mixtures are a model for salad dressing. The emulsions alone are colloidally stable, but become inhomogeneous, due to the effects of gravity. With sufficient polymer, they can be apparently stable (jammed) for months, but then quite suddenly start to sediment – the system unjams. The kinetics of this delayed sedimentation is measured as a function of the key parameters. A new model is proposed for the mechanism by which polymers stabilize emulsions.
Solutions of gelatin form gels when cooled, due to the formation of portions of helix. A new model relating the amount of helix to the elasticity is described. The gels always evolve slowly. At steady state, the rate of evolution of the elasticity is constant in log(time), so this system conforms to Struick’s physical aging scenario. The effect of temperature changes on the evolution of gels is extremely complex. The results show that there is a deep analogy between this behavior and that of spin glasses, which are exotic magnetic phases.
Gels of iota carrageenan, a seaweed polysaccharide, have unique rheological properties: they regel almost instantly after strong mixing. This property is used in the dairy industry, but has not been studied previously. The kinetics of recovery after shear has been measured for water gels and milk gels.

Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Wageningen University
  • van der Linden, Erik, Promotor
Award date30 Jun 2009
Place of Publication[S.l.
Print ISBNs9789085853879
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • gels
  • stability
  • dynamics
  • rheology
  • aging
  • sedimentation
  • thixotropy
  • depletion
  • flocculation
  • xanthan
  • gelatin
  • equilibrium

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