Consumer Products

• Investigating freeze drying processes for foods (in situ).

 

• Characterising the impact and penetration of cosmetics on the skin, lips, etc...

 

• Investigating the dynamics and stability of food emulsions.

 

• Studying structural changes in plastics used for packaging and storage.

 

• Understanding crystallisation and phase processes in food.

 

• Evaluating toxic chemicals in foodstuffs, and speciation in meat, fish, legumes and vegetables.

 

• Identifying chemical elements or species in foodstuffs to use as biomarkers for proving and/or verifying origin claims (e.g. products that are protected by one of the various EU schemes that guarantee geographical origin, or similar).

 

• Determining the content of copper, and other metals, in wine and spirits during manufacture.

 

Chemical imaging of plants, seeds, grains, algae, etc...

 

• Characterising polymer and metal parts used in consumer goods to assess the impact of stress, heat and humidity.

 

Phase transitions in fat and rheological activity in carbohydrate food.

 

Non-destructive studies on the degradation of materials used in consumer products.

 

• Identifying low-level chemical toxins in plants, microorganisms, and animal tissues, and determining their distribution.

 

• Monitoring toxic concentrations of heavy metals in soil samples.

 

• Speciation of environmental pollutants.

 

EXAMPLE

Biomarkers

The European Union protects traditional specialities from specific geographical regions via a number of consumer-recognised designation schemes. Scientists used wide- and small-angle X-ray diffraction to study fat samples from Spanish and Italian cured ham products. Biomarkers were isolated that can be used to identify the country of origin. This knowledge allows the origin of cured hams to be verified to help prevent fraud.

EXAMPLE

Microstructure

Scientists from a leading consumer product manufacturer used small-angle X-ray scattering to study microstructural changes in hair conditioners over a three month period. Their experiments provided the scientists with a mechanistic understanding of how the microstructure evolves from when it leaves the factory until used by consumers

EXAMPLE

Freeze-drying

Most dehydrated fruits and vegetables are produced by air drying, but higher quality products can be obtained using more expensive freeze-drying methods. Scientists from a leading consumer product manufacturer used X-ray micro-computed tomography to quantitatively assess the impact of freeze-drying, blanching and various pre-treatments on the microstructure and rehydration properties of winter carrots. The results revealed the relationship between freezing rate and product quality.

European Projects
Regional Projects
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