Research groups of the Institute of Food Process Engineering
We are active in the following research areas of food processing technology and related fields. We carry out basic research as well as application-oriented solutions in cooperation with partners from industry. If you have any questions regarding the individual research areas, please contact the respective contact person.
Emulsifying and dispersing technologies
The term "emulsification technology" or "dispersion technology" generally refers to the comminution process of liquid or solid phases in a liquid continuous phase. It is therefore a process for producing a dispersion (emulsion or suspension).
Emulsifying technology has occupied mankind for many generations, for example in the production of creams or sauces, often with simple equipment such as spoons. However, the production of emulsions and dispersions with technical equipment such as high-pressure homogenizers was only made possible with industrialization. These processes are widespread in production today.
The focus of the current research at our institute is a deeper understanding of the basic processes of emulsifying and dispersing techniques. We use our basic results to develop or implement innovative products and more efficient, simpler processes together with industrial partners.
Extrusion of Biopolymeric Materials
Recent trends in food extrusion technology and research have been mainly directed to the development of sustainable and functional foods, which address the increased consumer awareness of the role of food products and processes on environment, health, and well–being. Extrusion technology offers the flexibility to process a wide range of raw materials to desired product characteristics and functional properties. However, although the history of food extrusion processing goes back to the late-1800s, the control of this process and design of new extruded products are still mostly based on empirical knowledge.
In our research group, we work on developing an approach and tools which may practically enable the food research to analyze the extrusion processing at a mechanistic level and characterize the decisive process parameters crucial for complex food design and scale-up purposes. Furthermore, we use these research-tool-kits to develop strategies on delivering sustainability and functionality into complex foods and biopolymeric systems.
Design of Efficient Drying and Freezing Processes
The working group deals with various thermophysical processes of food processing. These are in particular methods of preserving food, such as drying and freezing. The research concentrates on the targeted design of product properties with efficient use of resources (raw materials, water, energy ...). The product properties (shelf life, sensors, redispersibility ...) are usually determined by the microstructure of the products, such as particle size distribution or porosity. Again, these microstructures can often be influenced and controlled by the manufacturing process. The exploration of these relationships, which are also referred to as a property and process function, represents the core area of the work.