Scientists Use 3D Printer to Craft Crispier Chocolate

Some scientists work on developing cures for disease. Others search to unearth hidden wonders of our planet. And some look for ways to explore far away locales. Each scientific endeavor, both big and small, obvious and esoteric, is important. It’s how we grow our species’ knowledge and capabilities in an effort to build a better future. But one field of study truly leads to making the world a tastier place – chocolate science. And the latest breakthrough in that delicious discipline uses 3D printers to make even crispier candy.

Researchers at the University of Amsterdam decided to apply the use of metamaterials to food. (With a study we first learned about at Gizmodo.) Metamaterials are unique artificial structures with extraordinary properties that do not exist in nature. For example they make it possible to create objects that are sturdier yet lighter than organic items. Thus far a broad array of scientific fields have used metamaterials, including electromagnetics and mechanics. But they had never been put to the test with food until Associate Professor Corentin Coulais and his team. And to research how metamaterials would change food they used chocolate.

In addition to the above video, the group published their findings in Soft Matter journal. They combined advanced numerical techniques with 3D printing. The result was “an improved and unexpected sensory experience” unlike what you would taste with regular chocolate.

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The study has implications for all food. But for now we’re eager/hungry to try their unique chocolate. Some of the structures they created resulted in a far crispier bite. From their paper:

First, the mechanical compression tests reveal that each mechanical metamaterial has a very different fracture behavior depending on whether it is compressed along one axis or the other. When the structure is compressed along its horizontal direction, the structure is relatively stiff, strong, of comparable stiffness and strength to that of the reference geometry. It is also brittle, as the force-displacement curve exhibits a single peak.

Obviously we must try this super crispy chocolate as soon as possible. We would also like to try the metamaterial candy they made that had a softer mouthfeel. We want to try all the chocolate. Once we do we hope/expect scientists will continue working on making even newer kinds. Every field of science is important, but only chocolate science tastes so good.

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