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Several important factors need to be taken into consideration in the design of food processing plants in order to assure the quality of the end products. One of them is the question of rheology, which concerns the ﬂow behaviour of the products. A main issue is also the measurement, adaptation and application of viscosity data, which concerns the design calculations of processing equipment.

Viscosity & Rheology

Theoretical and practical considerations in liquid food processing

Dr Ulf Bolmstedt, Company Specialist in Heat Transfer & Fluid Mechanics,Tetra Pak AB

In the dairy industry there are cream and cultured milk products whose characteristics can be partially or completely spoiled if their ﬂow behaviour is not understood. In the prepared food industry there are dessert products often containing starch based additives, soups and sauces containing particles and tomato products that require certain considerations regarding choice and design of equipment. What follows here is a brief guide to the ﬂow behaviour of some typical food industry products, how to classify the products and how to measure and adapt viscosity data. Deﬁnition Rheology is deﬁned as the science of deformation and ﬂow of matter. The term itself originates from Greek rheos meaning to ﬂow. Rheology is applicable to all types of materials, from gases to solids. The science of rheology is young,only about 70 years of age, but its history is very old. In the book of Judges in the Old Testament the prophetess Deborah declared “The mountains ﬂowed before the Lord...”.Translated into rheological terms by Professor Marcus Reiner1, this expression means everything ﬂows if you just wait long enough, a statement that is certainly applicable to rheology. It was also described by the Greek philosopher Heraclitus as “panta rei” - everything flows. Professor Reiner, together with Professor Eugene Bingham, was the founder of the science of rheology in the mid-20s. Rheology is used in food science to deﬁne the consistency of different products. Rheologically the consistency is described by two components, the viscosity (“thickness”,lack of slipperiness) and the elasticity (“stickiness”, structure). In practice, therefore, rheology stands for viscosity measurements,characterisation of ﬂow behaviour and determination of material structure. Basic knowledge of these subjects is essential in process design and product quality evaluation. Characterisation of materials One of the main issues of rheology is the deﬁnition and classification of materials. Normal glass, for

instance, is usually deﬁned as a solid material, but if the thickness of an old church window is measured from top to bottom a difference will be noted. Glass does in fact ﬂow like a liquid, albeit very slowly. Also, an air bubble captured in a glass object will rise, safely but slowly, due to the difference in density between air and glass. The process may, however, take centuries to observe and is of course not evident to human beings - the time of observation is too short. One way of characterising a material is by its relaxation time, i.e. the time required to reduce a stress in the material by ﬂow. Typical magnitudes of relaxation times for materials are: seconds Gases < 10-6 Liquids 10-6 - 102 seconds Solids > 102 seconds The Deborah Number, D, named after the prophetess Deborah,is a way of characterising the ﬂow behaviour of a material.The Deborah Number is the ratio between time of relaxation and the time of observation: D = time of relaxation time of observation Consequently, the Deborah Number is large for materials of high viscosity and low for materials of low viscosity. Another way of deﬁning materials rheologically is by the terms viscous, elastic or viscoelastic. Gases and liquids are normally described as viscous ﬂuids.By deﬁnition an ideal viscous ﬂuid is unable to store any deformation energy. Hence it is irreversibly deformed when subjected to stress; it ﬂows and the deformation energy is dissipated as heat, resulting in a rise of temperature. Solids, on the other hand, are normally described as elastic materials. An ideal elastic material stores all imposed deformation energy and will consequently recover totally upon release of stress. A viscous ﬂuid can therefore be described as a ﬂuid, which resists the act of deformation rather than the state of deformation, while an elastic material resists the act as well as the state of deformation. A number of materials show viscous as well as elastic properties, i.e. they store some of the deformation

Reprinted from New Food Volume 3 Issue 2, Summer 2000 For more information please contact Russell Publishing Ltd., Tel: +44 (0)20 7436 3642 Fax: +44 (0)20 7436 3610 Email: info@russellpublishing.com

Shear thinning ﬂow behaviour The viscosity of a shear thinning ﬂuid (sometimes also denoted pseudoplastic fluid) decreases with increasing shear rate.Processing energy in their structure while some is lost by ﬂow. rheopectic or anti-thixotropic. in most cases. Low-concentration liquids in general. which is a plot of viscosity versus shear rate. . high concentration and low temperature induce or increase non-Newtonian behaviour. telescopic ﬂow through capillaries and pipes. Newtonian ﬂuids Newtonian ﬂuids are those having a constant viscosity dependent on temperature but independent of the applied shear rate.such as starch-based puddings. γ dy The proportionality constant is thus equal to the viscosity of the material. Non-Newtonian materials that are time independent are deﬁned as shear thinning.g. If the shear rate is changed the viscosity will also change. Shearing between parallel planes is normally used for the basic deﬁnition of shear stress and shear rate. are called non-Newtonian. in which case the viscosity is a function not only of the magnitude of the shear rate but also of the duration and. A Newtonian ﬂuid can therefore be deﬁned by a single viscosity value at a speciﬁed temperature. will therefore be a straight line with slope η for a Newtonian ﬂuid. One way to achieve this is to apply an oscillating shear to the material with amplitude low enough to allow an unbroken structure to be studied. Apart from being shear rate dependent. of the frequency of successive applications of shear. and tomato purées. If we want to study the elasticity (structure) of a material. shearing of a substance is the key to knowledge of ﬂow behaviour and structure. Non-Newtonian ﬂuids Materials. may for practical purposes be characterised as Newtonian ﬂuids. __ = η . The ﬂow curve. m2 shear rate as: dv . dγ γ = __ = __ dt dy Fig 2: Deﬁnition of shear stress and shear rate is based on shearing between planes (Isaac Newton. rotational ﬂow between coaxial cylinders where one cylinder is stationary and the other one is rotating. One can also say that Newtonian ﬂuids have direct proportionality between shear stress and shear rate in laminar ﬂow: . The ﬁgures increase with increased concentration. the shearing must be very gentle so as not to destroy the structure. N A = area. the shearing must induce stationary ﬂow of the material. corresponding to how much deformation is applied to the material and how fast. skim milk and most single strength fruit juices. which is a plot of shear stress versus shear rate. The viscosity temperature dependence of e. dv σyx = η . A sheared ﬂow is achieved through ﬂow between parallel planes. Water. Non-Newtonian materials that are time dependent are deﬁned as thixotropic. To enable study of the viscosity of a material. The flow occurs through rearrangement and deformation of particles and through breaking of bonds in the structure of the material. The viscosity curve. These materials are called viscoelastic and there are many examples among foodstuffs. The viscosity of these materials must always be stated together with a corresponding temperature and shear rate. such as whole milk. shear thickening or plastic. mineral and vegetable oils and pure sucrose solutions are examples of Newtonian ﬂuids. mayonnaise. a 20OBx sugar solution is around 1. will show a straight line at a constant value equal to η. which cannot be deﬁned by a single viscosity value at a specified temperature.5% per degree at 20OC and around 3% per degree at 80OC. σ/γ . the viscosity of non-Newtonian ﬂuids may also be time dependent. Most liquid food systems belong and apparent viscosity of a ﬂuid as: ηa = . Shear stress is deﬁned as: F σyx = __ A F = force. 1687). and torsional ﬂow between parallel plates. Fig 1: Different types of shearing Shearing In rheology. Generally speaking.

If the force applied is smaller than the force corresponding to the yield stress. hand cream and greases are typical examples of plastic ﬂuids. and also for a given liquid. resulting in denser packing of the particles. or it can ﬂow like a shear thinning liquid and be described as a viscoplastic liquid.e. Shear thickening ﬂow behaviour The viscosity of a shear thickening ﬂuid increases with increasing shear rate.g. depending on temperature and concentration. Fig 5: Flow curves for time-dependant non-Newtonian ﬂuids. A shear thickening ﬂuid exhibits dilatant ﬂow behaviour. e.The reason for shear thinning ﬂow behaviour is that an increased shear rate deforms and/or rearranges particles. resulting in lower ﬂow resistance and consequently lower viscosity. Plastic ﬂow behaviour A ﬂuid. the liquid can ﬂow like a Newtonian liquid and be described as a Bingham plastic liquid. to this category of ﬂuids.e. Typical examples of shear thickening systems are wet sand and concentrated starch suspensions. the solvent acts as a lubricant between suspended particles at low shear rates but is squeezed out at higher shear rates. This type of ﬂow behaviour is generally found among suspensions of very high concentration. salad dressings and tomato ketchup. It should be noted that although sucrose solutions show Newtonian behaviour independent of concentration. shows elastic properties. Outside the liquid food world toothpaste. Typical plastic ﬂuids are quarg. This means in practice that the pressure drop of a non-Newtonian ﬂuid in laminar ﬂow is not directly proportional to the ﬂow rate as for Newtonian ﬂuids in laminar ﬂow. referred to as the ketchup effect). yoghurt. The practical result of this type of flow behaviour is that a signiﬁcant force must be applied before the material starts to ﬂow like a liquid (often Fig 4:Viscosity curves for Newtonian and non-Newtonian ﬂuids. fruit juice concentrates. A simple but still very effective way of checking a ﬂuid’s possible plastic properties is to just turn the .Processing Fig 3: Flow curves for Newtonian and non-Newtonian ﬂuids. which exhibits a yield stress.tomato paste and certain ketchups. Hence a non-Newtonian ﬂuid like yoghurt or fruit juice concentrate being pumped in a pipe shows decreased apparent viscosity if ﬂow rate is increased. the material stores the deformation energy. and hence behaves as a solid. i. The shear rate dependency of the viscosity can differ substantially between different products. is called a plastic fluid.fruit juice concentrates are always signiﬁcantly non-Newtonian. Once the yield stress is exceeded. i. high pectin pineapple juice concentrate.

To recover its structure. This type of ﬂow behaviour is shown by all gel-forming systems. e.3 n = 0. These models relate the shear stress of a ﬂuid to the shear rate. perhaps brush paint is the most well-known product showing thixotropic behaviour. In this test the material is subjected to increasing shear rates followed by the same shear rates in decreasing order. An anti-thixotropic fluid can be described as a shear thickening system.5 n = 0.1 K K K K K K K = 2 Pasn = 50 Pasn = 3 Pasn = 4 Pasn = 10 Pasn = 70 Pasn = 1000 Pasn Yield stress ketchup mustard mayonnaise 14 Pa 38 Pa 85 Pa Fig. The main beneﬁt of the generalised power law equation is its applicability to a great number of Shear rates sedimentation chewing stirring pumping spraying rubbing 10-6 101 101 102 103 104 10-4 102 103 103 104 105 s-1 s-1 s-1 s-1 s-1 s-1 Fig. also called the generalised power law equation. The time-dependent thixotropic ﬂow behaviour is seen from the difference between the ascending and descending viscosity and shear stress curves. . Time-dependent ﬂow behaviour A thixotropic ﬂuid can be described as a shear thinning system where the viscosity decreases not only with increasing shear rate but also with time at a constant shear rate. As with thixotropic ﬂuids. as the ratio between shear stress and shear rate.e. Flow behaviour models For the adaptation of viscosity measurement data to process design calculations some kind of mathematical description of the ﬂow behaviour is required. By far the most general model is the HerschelBulkley model. Herschel-Bulkley.g.2 n = 0.Processing ty increases with increasing shear rate.: only given as examples and should not be used for design calculations. 7:Typical data on shear rates. viscosities and power law constants n and K. N. mayonnaise. one where the viscosi- Viscosities air water olive oil glycerol syrup molten glass glass 10-5 10-3 10-1 106 102 1012 1040 Pas Pas Pas Pas Pas Pas Pas n and k values fruit concentrate molten chocolate sour milk quarg apple puree tomato paste grease n = 0.Valid around room temperature (1 Pas = 1000 mPas = 1000 centiPoise).3 n = 0. thus enabling the apparent viscosity to be calculated. For that purpose several models are available. Bingham. Steiger-Ory.Outside the liquid food world. the ﬂow behaviour is illustrated by a loop test. which in principle is an extended Ostwald model. Typical examples of thixotropic fluids are yoghurt. it probably has no yield value but a high viscosity.margarine and ice cream. A rheopectic ﬂuid can be described as a thixotropic ﬂuid but with the important difference that the structure of the ﬂuid will only recover completely if subjected to a small shear rate. but very slowly. 6: Logarithmic ﬂow and viscosity curves for a shear thinning power law ﬂuid jar upside down.7 n = 0. If it ﬂows by itself. Ellis and Eyring. but also with time at a constant shear rate. Information of this kind is of vital importance to process plant design regarding the dimensions and layout of storage and process tank outlets and pump connections. If the ﬂuid will not ﬂow by itself it probably has a signiﬁcant yield value. Thixotropic ﬂow behaviour is normally studied in a loop test. the material must rest for a certain period of time which is characteristic for the speciﬁc material.b. as always. This means that a rheopectic ﬂuid will not rebuild its structure at rest. This type of ﬂow behaviour is very uncommon among foodstuffs. i. Ostwald.3 n = 0.

which in practice means thixotropic ﬂuids. Instead. a special design of the capillary viscometer is the tubular viscometer. For a plastic ﬂuid the power law equation is used in the fully generalised form. It must be strongly emphasised that viscosity measurements of non-Newtonian ﬂuids carried out at undeﬁned or out-of-range shear rates should not be used as a basis for quantitative analysis of viscosity ﬁgures or rheological parameters.g. with n < 1 for viscoplastic behaviour and n = 1 for Bingham plastic behaviour. rotational viscometers are easier to use and more ﬂexible than capillary viscometers. However. For time-dependent ﬂuids. Portable types usually with n < 1 and n > 1. Capillary viscometers may be of atmospheric or pressurised type.i.where the shearing takes place in a narrow gap with a small shear rate gradient.γ = η. γ = n = . Rotational viscometers are available as portable as well as stationary instruments. Generally speaking. respectively. Measurement of non-Newtonian ﬂuids requires instruments where the applied shear rate is accurately deﬁned. The generalised power law equation is applicable to plastic as well as shear thinning and shear thickening ﬂuids according to the following: (σ−σ0) = Κ .n Fig 8: Operating principles of different types of viscometers. as it is in viscometers of spindle type. for instance in pressure drop and heat transfer calculations. γ n where σ = σ0 = K = . Measuring equipment The main types of viscometers are rotational and capillary. .Processing non-Newtonian ﬂuids over a wide range of shear rates. plate-plate or concentric cylinder type. The last-named may be of Searle (rotating bob) or Couette (rotating cup) type. 25 or 38 mm compared to a few mm for the capillary type. On the other hand. For Newtonian ﬂuids the power law equation looks like this: (K = η and n = 1): n σ=Κ. shear stress yield stress consistency shear rate ﬂow behaviour index Pa Pa Pasn s-1 - Suitable modiﬁcation of the generalised power law equation makes it possible to rewrite it to express each type of ﬂow behaviour.e. For a shear thinning or shear thickening ﬂuid the power law equation becomes: σ=Κ. The tubular viscometer is used for the determination of the power law constants and is especially suitable for particulate products. for practical use in liquid food viscometry they are less applicable due to their sensitivity to even small particles like fruit juice ﬁbres. Rotational viscometers are of spindle. capillary viscometers are more accurate at low viscosities and at high shear rates. Furthermore.γ . . coneplate.γ . This fundamental requirement excludes viscometers where the gap is too big or even undeﬁned. with a diameter of e. These ﬂuids are therefore often described by timeindependent process viscosities normally ﬁtted to the power law equation. the mathematical models required for description of rheological behaviour are generally far more complex than the models discussed so far. the power law equation lends itself readily to mathematical treatment. The drawback of the tubular viscometer is that it often requires large product volumes and that the measuring system can be quite bulky and expensive.

A rotational viscometer is normally insufﬁcient for carrying out a complete rheological analysis. the viscosities before and after heating above swelling temperature will differ signiﬁcantly. a typical sterilisation process up to 1400C can be fully covered regarding viscosity data. for instance determination of structure breakdown in yoghurt. for instance if the viscosity data are to be used in the design of a deep cooler or of the heating section of a steriliser. operating with torsional vibration or oscillation rather than rotation. meaning that data measured on one type of vanilla pudding. although some manufacturers provide connections for use with personal computers. heating effects must be considered. Ordinary viscometers and rheometers should not be used for measurement of substances with very high viscosities. This type of analysis requires a more sophisticated instrument. The rheological properties of many products. Furthermore. They are basically manually operated. generally called a rheometer. fermented dairy products. the ﬂuid can be rheologically analysed without its structure being destroyed. To increase the accuracy of data evaluation. the measurements should preferably be made in as close connection as possible to the actual processing stage. With these systems temperatures up to 1500C are possible. Today many of the portable instruments are equipped with processors capable of running the viscometer according to the desired scheme and also of storing all measuring data for later download to a printer or a PC. i. In addition. Measuring techniques Viscosity measurements should always be carried out for a representative range of shear rates and Fig 10: Database for storage of viscosity and rheology measurement data. A temperature change of 30C can often cause a change in viscosity of 10 per cent. come in a shockproof case equipped with all necessary accessories. Typical applications are viscoelastic ﬂuids. The software usually includes possible ﬁtting to a number of rheological models. cheese and vegetable fats. A special type of consistometer is preferably used within the tomato industry. Certain types of penetrometers are available instead.g. storage conditions and time factors must be taken into consideration. Fig 9: Output from a rheometric measurement showing the elastic modulus G’. In practice all varieties of liquid food products are unique regarding viscosity data.e. etc. of course. that it is accurately measured. Example showing data for 5% Colﬂo 67 starch solution from 30 to 1400C.Processing temperatures related to the process to be studied. This type of instrument gives the result in so-called 0Bostwick. At higher temperatures the risk of evaporation from the surface of the test sample followed by skin formation leading to increased momentum and hence false readings is signiﬁcant. Due to practical limitations the maximum applicable temperature for most viscometers is around 900C. plotting of ﬂow curves. measurements should be made at as many different shear rates and temperatures as possible. which is a unit applicable only to comparison of different products. e. Stationary installations are normally computer controlled for automation of measuring sequences and data evaluation. for which a rheometer can be used to determine the viscous and elastic properties of the ﬂuid separately. The intended use of the measured data should therefore be considered before measuring takes place.In a substance containing warm-swelling starch. such as butter. Hence a special type of pressurised measuring system has to be employed. the viscous modulus G’’ and the phase angle δ. When measurements are performed at a regular basis the results are preferably stored in a database in order to facilitate comparison of various products. but these cannot be used to obtain scientific rheological results since a penetrometer gives only empirical information. and if the purpose of the viscosity measurement is to supply data for process design. With a rheometer. for example. change with time. It is also most important that the temperature is kept constant during the test period and. one type of tomato purée or one type of yoghurt cannot be safely applied to another type or brand of a product with the same name or even with roughly the same .

g.n+1 ) . 3 ( r. n=1 for Newtonian ﬂuids.n+2 4 ) .2. r3 . with access to a database containing data on a substantial amount of products there is always a possibility to extract a range of viscosities for a certain type of product in case no other information is available.L. 62 or p= ( ( 3. however. He currently holds a position within Tetra Pak as Company Specialist in Heat Transfer & Fluid Mechanics and at the Lund Institute of Technology as External Associate Professor . The Deborah Number. coefﬁcients should therefore preferably be determined from experimental data.n+1 _______ n ) ( π. _____ 2 2 Q= ( n ________ 3. 2. Reference 1) Reiner. Q ______ w . He continued with Alfa Laval and Tetra Pak. h . π . Pressure drop in pipes Some useful equations are given below for manual calculation of pressure drop and shear rates for laminar pipe ﬂow. ) m3/s m Pa m s-1 Pasn The parameters are: Q = ﬂow rate r = channel radius p = pressure drop γw n K L .L. Q ______ r3 n n . mainly within liquid food applications.K . and n>1 for shear thickening (dilatant) ﬂuids. January 1964. the data found are scarce and hence accurate estimation of pressure drop for typical liquid food ﬂow conditions is difﬁcult to make.n+1 ________ n )( ) . h2 n n 2. ______ h γw = .n+1 ________ n )( . 2 ( h.r . to work with evaporators.K _______ r and γw = .. the following equation can be employed: p = Kf ρ. M. mainly within evaporation equipment. The equations are applicable to Newtonian as well as non-Newtonian ﬂuids depending on the value of n used in the calculation: n<1 for shear thinning (pseudoplastic) ﬂuids. Q ______ π . as most food systems in processing conditions can be described by this expression. p. Physics Today. expansions and tees. For laminar ﬂow. w.valves.v .K ) 1/n Dr Ulf Bolmstedt joined Alfa Laval in 1975 to implement dissertation work on computer software for simulation of evaporators.Processing composition. bends.K ) 1/n with the parameters Kf = friction loss coefﬁcient ρ = density of ﬂuid kg/m3 v = velocity of ﬂuid m/s Values of the friction loss coefﬁcient can be found in ordinary chemical or food engineering textbooks as well as in specialised rheological textbooks.L. ) .e. Q ______ w h2 m m The new parameters are: w = channel width h = channel height Pressure drop in ﬁttings For calculation of pressure drop in ﬁttings. p _______ 2. He has published a number of articles within these areas and holds patents. 3.n+2 ________ n )( ) . However.L. heat exchangers and rheology. All equations are based on the power law expression. Since the actual pressure drop is dependent on the type of ﬂuid as well as on the type and shape of the restriction and the friction loss. = = = = channel length wall shear rate ﬂow behaviour index consistency The corresponding equations for rectangular channels are as follows: Q= ( n ________ . The relationship between ﬂow rate and pressure drop and between ﬂow rate and wall shear rate in a circular channel is described as follows: p= ( ( 4. p _______ 2.

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