Journal of Food Engineering, Vol.245, 157-165, 2019
Soft lubrication characteristics of microparticulated whey proteins used as fat replacers in dairy systems
In this work the fat mimicking mechanism of microparticulated whey proteins (MWP) in milk-based systems was studied using rheological and tribological techniques. Flow curves and friction measurements in a soft contact of skim milk-MPW dispersions (SM-MPW) and skim milk-dairy fat emulsions (SM-DF) at different concentrations (3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18 and 20% w/w) and temperatures (25 degrees C and 37 degrees C) were carried out and compared. Friction coefficient curves of SM-MPW dispersions as a function of the product of entrainment speed and viscosity collapsed into a single master curve in the mixed and elastohydrodynamic (EHL) regimes when the high shear viscosity values as obtained through Carreau-Yasuda model were used. This suggests that the dispersions as a whole entrained in the contact. However, in the case of SM-DF emulsions, a very good collapse is obtained if only SM is assumed to pass through the contact. Simulations of friction coefficient within the EHL region showed a reasonably good continuity of the experimental data for SM-MPW dispersions and SM-DF emulsions. Finally, it was observed that friction levels attained with MPW proteins and DF at typical speeds involved in oral processing were comparable, hence demonstrating the capability of SM-MPW proteins dispersions to imitate DF in milk-based systems from a lubrication point of view.