Electrical Fields Can Make Tastier, Lower-Fat Chocolate

Chocolate is high in fat for a reason. Fat lowers chocolate's viscosity (how thick and sticky it is), helping it flow smoothly in its liquid form and keeping it from jamming up the machinery during production. Chocolate manufacturers have never quite found a way to make a low-fat chocolate, and it's not for lack of trying. That's why when chocolate behemoth Mars, Inc. heard that Temple University scientists had successfully lowered the viscosity of crude oil by applying an electric field in a technique called electrorheology (ER), they approached the team to see if they could do the same with chocolate. ER works by applying electricity in the same direction the fluid is flowing. In the case of chocolate, this reshaped the cocoa solids from sluggish balls to sleek chains, helping them crowd closer together for better flow. The scientists found that they could reduce the chocolate's fat content by 20% without causing manufacturing problems, and even better, they may have also improved the taste. "Some people even claim that the ER-treated chocolate has a slightly stronger cocoa flavor, better than the original chocolate," lead study author Rongjia Tao told Temple Now. We've collected some awesome videos on this topic. Watch them now to learn more.

Key Facts In This Video

  1. Researchers had successfully used electric fields to reduce the viscosity of crude oil. Mars, Inc. wanted to know if they could do the same with chocolate. 00:34

  2. The electric field reshaped cocoa solids suspended in the liquid, making it flow more easily. 01:02

  3. Reducing viscosity means you can reduce the fat without clogging the machine -- up to 20%. Some people even think the chocolate tastes better. 01:29

Written by Curiosity Staff July 13, 2016

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