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:

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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