Reproducibility in Tribological Measurements of Spreadable Foodstuff

Tribological measurements are influenced by numerous factors such as the sample and specimen characteristics and their history, environmental conditions such as temperature and relative humidity, contact pressure, etc. This makes it challenging to generate reproducible results. This report presents strategies to tackle such challenges within the field of tribology of spreadable foodstuff.


Using tribological approaches to quantify food oral processing is gaining more and more importance. The concept behind food tribology is to simulate events occurring at parts of the oral cavity during oral food intake using a measurement device to generate quantitative measures of mouthfeel. One relevant tribosystem in food oral processing is the tonguepalate interface. Sensors on the tongue are activated by the bolus – a mixture of food and saliva – which contributes to the mouthfeel experienced. The realworld tribopair of tongue and palate can be simulated by a glass ball pressed against Polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) pins. Results from tribological measurements can then be correlated with data from a sensory panel. This could enable cost-efficient product development as well as a deeper understanding of the food structure-mouthfeel correlation. However, sample and specimen handling are crucial for gaining useful results during tribological model system testing.

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