Making a Recipe for the Perfect Soft-Boiled Egg with Simulation

Caty Fairclough March 31, 2016

Two professional chefs stand in a classroom, closely observing a soft-boiled egg. What may initially sound like a cooking class is actually part of a physics course offered at the Technische Universiteit Eindhoven (TU/e) in the Netherlands. Using COMSOL Multiphysics, students are investigating the science behind cooking the perfect soft-boiled egg. See how this innovative blend of simulation research and food science is teaching students how to build and test models.

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Fabrice Schlegel March 17, 2016

When you think of a stout beer, one type that may come to mind is Guinness® beer. This stout is very special, noticeable by its dark body and famous white head. The dynamics of the foam alone are interesting enough to write a series of blog posts about. Although I don’t drink Guinness® beer (I’m a fan of IPA), I found the longstanding debate about whether its bubbles are rising or sinking while the beer settles makes an interesting simulation.

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Brianne Christopher January 6, 2016

Contaminated produce contributes to food waste — a growing problem in the global agricultural industry. Solar dryers are one way to preserve fruits and vegetables, but these devices must be able to function properly to be effective. Heat transfer simulation can be used to analyze solar food dryer designs and identify the right building materials, including phase-change materials (PCMs), which conserve the solar heat. Today, we’ll explore simulation research focused on optimizing a solar dryer design for efficient food preservation.

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Aditi Karandikar September 16, 2015

Do you drool at the very mention of chocolate? If so, you’re a “chocoholic” like me, and Nestlé’s Kit Kat® bar is one of my favorites. For 80 years, people around the globe have devoured this four-piece delight. To ensure every bar of chocolate produced has the same consistency, texture, and taste, the engineers at Nestlé’s Product Technology Centre in York, UK (PTC York) are using simulation to optimize the Kit Kat® bar manufacturing process.

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Brianne Christopher March 24, 2015

Try pouring some wine into a glass. Don’t drink it yet — this is a scientific experiment. When you hold up your glass, you’ll see what look like teardrops running down the sides. These tears of wine are caused by the Marangoni effect, which describes a mass transfer along the surface of two fluid phases caused by surface tension gradients along the interface between the two phases (for example liquid and vapor).

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Fanny Griesmer November 10, 2014

Worried about bacteria in your tomatoes? Research presented at the COMSOL Conference 2014 Boston shows where bacteria seeps through during hydrocooling — and how we can avoid ingesting it.

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Fabrice Schlegel September 26, 2014

There are two aspects of home brewing: the culinary side and the engineering one. Many beer lovers start brewing either to improve a recipe, try to clone their favorite beer, or even simply just to see how it works. After brewing a few batches, however, it turns out that the brewing process can also be very challenging from an engineering point of view.

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Andrew Griesmer September 23, 2014

After switching to a more environmentally friendly coffee maker, we recently started disposing of our coffee grounds as food waste instead of trash, here at the COMSOL office in Burlington, MA. Figuring out how to do this properly was a project on its own, but an educational one worth sharing. To pull this off, I learned about composting in my area and was intrigued by the science of composting.

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Fanny Griesmer September 11, 2014

Baking is just like chemistry class, except you get to eat the results. Today, we narrow in on one ingredient in particular: sugar. More than just a sweetener, sugar serves several other purposes in baking. For one, it keeps our baked goods moist thanks to its hygroscopic properties.

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Fanny Griesmer August 5, 2014

We tend to do some research before taking to the lab, but when it comes to baking, I’ve been operating in the reverse. In this lighter blog entry, we explore the role of eggs in baking by comparing traditional recipes with vegan versions as well as more modern baking techniques. Chemistry experiments you can eat? Yes, please.

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Lexi Carver December 17, 2013

You may not think of reheating food in the microwave as a drying process, but as we saw at the COMSOL Conference 2013 Boston, microwave technology — the same technology used in domestic microwave ovens — can be used for drying fruits and vegetables. One poster presented at the conference featured microwave drying of potatoes and how the heat and mass transfer that occurs can be modeled to predict the drying process.

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