Fun with CellScale: Defining Al Dente

Fun with CellScale: Defining Al Dente

Al Dente often implies pasta that is cooked firm to the bite. But the question is, how firm should it be? Why, you can only answer that question through a mechanical test!

3 samples of pasta cooked to different durations were stretched with the UniVert. Each sample was clamped gently to prevent breakage. (For more information on how to properly clamp your samples, check out this article: Tension Testing Tips and Tricks)

Next, we setup a testing protocol in the UniVert software that gives us real-time force and displacement data. This software was developed in-house and is exceptionally simple to use. Plus, we provide lifetime support for any concerns you may have about any component of our instrument.

Ready, RUN!

In addition to live graphs, data is output to a .csv files which can be easily ported into Microsoft Excel for further analysis. From force and displacement data, we can calculate stress, strain and Young’s Modulus for each of the samples. (Several websites provide more information on how to do that, here’s one we like: https://www.thoughtco.com/youngs-modulus-4176297)

From the graph above, we can infer that:

  1. The first pasta sample (2 mins) is the stiffest of the lot with the highest ultimate stress
  2. The ultimate strain greatly increases with cook time
  3. Gluten-free pasta actually tastes really good!

The possibilities for testing pasta are endless! We’ll consider our pasta Al Dente at 6 minutes cook time. Bon Appetit! 

We hpoe you have enjoyed reading this post! Would you like us to test other household items with our instruments? Write to us at info@cellscale.com!

Fun with CellScale: Compressing Play-Doh

Fun with CellScale: Compressing Play-Doh

Regional Sales Manager Matt Brunsting and his 3-year old wonder what happens when daddy has to work from home! It can be a whole lotta fun, especially when you combine the CellScale UniVert and good ‘ol Play-Doh! 

 They start with a complex extrusion process to produce a 1-inch long cylindrical sample (led by Lena).

The sample is then carefully mounted onto the UniVert test system, in a compression test mode. 

Using a 20N load cell, the sample is compressed while the system UniVert controller exports Force and Displacement data to the software. (Please note: pancakes and burger patties cannot be made in the same way with the UniVert.)

Next, Matt carefully puts together a graph depicting the mechanical behavior of the samples under varying compression rates. 

Finally, the team is off for some cheese and crackers to commemorate the day’s hard work! Good job Matt and Lena! #teamwork

To view a slightly more complicated sample extrusion and molding tool, click here.
To read about another compression test with the UniVert, click here.
To view other capabilities of the UniVert system, click here.

We hpoe you have enjoyed reading this post! Would you like us to test other household items with our instruments? Write to us at info@cellscale.com!

Fun with CellScale: Toilet Paper Strength Analysis

Fun with CellScale: Toilet Paper Strength Analysis

CellScale’s mechanical testing instruments were designed for delicate testing of biomaterials, but they can do so much more!

During this period of self-isolation and social distancing, we thought we’d put the current most precious commodity, toilet paper, to the test. The CellScale UniVert was set up for a tension test of a single ply of toilet paper. To make things more interesting, we thought we’d compare 2 leading brands (at least in Canada): Costco and Charmin.

In the graph above, stress data is plotted against strain. The Young’s (or Elastic) Modulus is calculated from the linear portion of the curve. The higher the Elastic Modulus (and steeper the curve), the higher the stiffness of the material. We can clearly see that the Costco brand outperformed the Charmin brand in terms of stiffness, but failed at a lower ultimate stress. Which would you choose?

Of course, toilet paper are available in such a wide variety these days – if you can get your hands on it! For now, this test at least demonstrates that we have a few sheets to spare!

Would you like us to test other household items with our instruments? Write to us at info@cellscale.com!