skip to main content

This content will become publicly available on April 4, 2023

Title: Swelling, softening, and elastocapillary adhesion of cooked pasta

The diverse chemical and physical reactions encountered during cooking connect us to science every day. Here, we theoretically and experimentally investigate the swelling and softening of pasta due to liquid imbibition as well as the elastic deformation and adhesion of pasta due to capillary force. As water diffuses into the pasta during cooking, it softens gradually from the outside inward as starch swells and relaxes. The softening follows three sequential regimes: regime I, the hard-glassy region, shows a slow decrease in modulus with cooking time; regime II, the glassy to rubbery transition region, or leathery region, is characterized by a very fast, several orders of magnitude drop in elastic modulus and regime III, the rubbery region, has an asymptotic modulus about four orders of magnitude lower than the raw pasta. We present experiments and theory to capture these regimes and relate them to the heterogeneous microstructure changes associated with swelling. Interestingly, we observe a modulus drop of two orders of magnitude within the range of “al dente” cooking duration, and we find the modulus to be extremely sensitive to the amount of salt added to the boiling water. While most chefs can gauge the pasta by tasting its texture, our more » proposed experiment, which only requires a measurement with a ruler, can precisely provide an optimal cooking time finely tuned for various kinds of pasta shapes.

« less
Authors:
 ;  ;  ;  ;  
Award ID(s):
1825758
Publication Date:
NSF-PAR ID:
10365004
Journal Name:
Physics of Fluids
Volume:
34
Issue:
4
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
Article No. 042105
ISSN:
1070-6631
Publisher:
American Institute of Physics
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Fibers are valuable to biomedical applications. Used as sutures or meshes, there is an increased dual need to provide functionality such as drug delivery. Porosity represents a high surface area to volume architecture. Coaxial fibers with porous and non-porous layers offer a new design framework for fiber design that can resolve dual needs of mechanical robustness with transport phenomena. Using preferential solubility of a polymer in supercritical CO2, we develop a new architecture using biocompatible polymers based on porous core-sheath fiber fabrication technique. Polycaprolactone was selected as the CO2 miscible phase and Poly(butyrate adipate terephthalate)(PBAT) as the immiscible phase. The mechanical performance of the fibers was investigated using quasi static and dynamic loading. SEM images indicate no physical detachment of the two polymer surface after CO2 exposure indicating a successful amalgamation of polymers at the boundary of core and sheath. PCL as a sheath and as a core showed an increase of 650% and 468% in tensile strength compared to pristine PCL and PBAT. Introduction of porosity on the surface of coaxial fiber fPCL(cPBAT) further enhanced the yield strength increases by 40%. Dynamic mechanical analysis was used to analyze the viscoelastic properties of the fibers. The storage and loss modulusmore »for coaxial fibers shows superior modulus throughout the glassy, glass transition and rubbery region as compared to the pristine PCL and PBAT, showing enhancement in both the elastic and viscous response of the material. The results indicate a new approach that is free of volatile organic solvents to manipulate the architecture of the cross-section of the electrospun fiber and tailor mechanical properties to the required application.« less
  2. From pasta to biological tissues to contact lenses, gel and gel-like materials inherently soften as they swell with water. In dry, low-relative-humidity environments, these materials stiffen as they de-swell with water. Here, we use semi-dilute polymer theory to develop a simple power-law relationship between hydrogel elastic modulus and swelling. From this relationship, we predict hydrogel stiffness or swelling at arbitrary relative humidities. Our close predictions of properties of hydrogels across three different polymer mesh families at varying crosslinking densities and relative humidities demonstrate the validity and generality of our understanding. This predictive capability enables more rapid material discovery and selection for hydrogel applications in varying humidity environments.
  3. The generation of 3D tissue constructs with multiple cell types and matching mechanical properties remains a challenge in cardiac tissue engineering. Recently, 3D bioprinting has become a powerful tool to achieve these goals. Decellularized extracellular matrix (dECM) is a common scaffold material due to providing a native biochemical environment. Unfortunately, dECM’s low mechanical stability prevents usage for bioprinting applications alone. In this study, we developed bioinks composed of decellularized human heart ECM (dhECM) with either gelatin methacryloyl (GelMA) or GelMA-methacrylated hyaluronic acid (MeHA) hydrogels dual crosslinked with UV light and microbial transglutaminase (mTGase). We characterized the bioinks’ mechanical, rheological, swelling, printability, and biocompatibility properties. Composite GelMA–MeHA–dhECM (GME) hydrogels demonstrated improved mechanical properties by an order of magnitude compared to the GelMA–dhECM (GE) hydrogels. All hydrogels were extrudable and compatible with human induced pluripotent stem cell derived cardiomyocytes (iCMs) and human cardiac fibroblasts (hCFs). Tissue-like beating of the printed constructs with striated sarcomeric alpha-actinin and connexin 43 expression was observed. The order of magnitude difference between the elastic modulus of these hydrogel composites offers applications in in vitro modeling of the myocardial infarct boundary. Here, as a proof of concept, we created an infarct boundary region with control over the mechanicalmore »properties along with the cellular and macromolecular content through printing iCMs with GE bioink and hCFs with GME bioink.« less
  4. Abstract

    When a water drop is placed onto a soft polymer network, a wetting ridge develops at the drop periphery. The height of this wetting ridge is typically governed by the drop surface tension balanced by elastic restoring forces of the polymer network. However, the situation is more complex when the network is swollen with fluid, because the fluid may separate from the network at the contact line. Here we study the fluid separation and network deformation at the contact line of a soft polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) network, swollen with silicone oil. By controlling both the degrees of crosslinking and swelling, we find that more fluid separates from the network with increasing swelling. Above a certain swelling, network deformation decreases while fluid separation increases, demonstrating synergy between network deformation and fluid separation. When the PDMS network is swollen with a fluid having a negative spreading parameter, such as hexadecane, no fluid separation is observed. A simple balance of interfacial, elastic, and mixing energies can describe this fluid separation behavior. Our results reveal that a swelling fluid, commonly found in soft networks, plays a critical role in a wetting ridge.

  5. We present a study of the mechanical behavior of planar fibrous mats stabilized by inter-fiber adhesion. Fibers of various degrees of tortuosity and of infinite and finite length are considered in separate models. Fibers are randomly distributed, are not cross-linked, and interact through adhesion and friction. The variation of structural parameters such as the mat thickness and the mean segment length between contacts along given fibers with the strength of adhesion is determined. These systems are largely dissipative in that most of the work performed during deformation is dissipated frictionally and only a small fraction is stored as strain energy. The response of the mats to tensile loading has three regimes: a short elastic regime in which no sliding at contacts is observed, a well-defined sliding regime characterized by strain hardening, and a rapid stiffening regime at larger strains. The third regime is due to the formation of stress paths after the fiber tortuosity is pulled out and is absent in mats of finite length fibers. Networks of finite length fibers lose stability during the second regime of deformation. The scaling of the yield stress, which characterizes the transition between the first and the second regimes, and of the secondmore »regime's strain hardening modulus, with system parameters such as the strength of adhesion and friction and the degree of fiber tortuosity are determined. The strength of mats of finite length fibers is also determined as a function of network parameters. These results are expected to become useful in the design of electrospun mats and other planar fibrous non-cross-linked networks.« less