Journal of Colloid and Interface Science, Vol.586, 142-151, 2021
Effects of beverage carbonation on lubrication mechanisms and mouthfeel
The perception of carbonation is an important factor in beverage consumption which must be understood in order to develop healthier products. Herein, we study the effects of carbonated water on oral lubrication mechanisms involved in beverage mouthfeel and hence taste perception. Friction was measured in a compliant PDMS-glass contact simulating the tongue-palate interface (under representative speeds and loads), while fluorescence microscopy was used to visualise both the flow of liquid and oral mucosal pellicle coverage. When carbonated water is entrained into the contact, CO2 cavities form at the inlet, which limit flow and thus reduce the hydrodynamic pressure. Under mixed lubrication conditions, when the fluid film thickness is comparable to the surface roughness, this pressure reduction results in significant increases in friction (>300% greater than under non-carbonated water conditions). Carbonated water is also shown to be more effective than non-carbonated water at debonding the highly lubricious, oral mucosal pellicle, which again results in a significant increase in friction. Both these transient mechanisms of starvation and salivary pellicle removal will modulate the flow of tastants to taste buds and are suggested to be impor- tant in the experience of taste and refreshment. For example this may be one reason why flat colas taste sweeter. (C) 2020 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.