Materials Science of Chocolate: Tasting the Difference

Materials Science of Chocolate: Tasting the Difference

Freshman Katie Ferguson pours melted chocolate into molds during MMS' outreach event in Van Vlack Lab January 18.

On January 18, Prof. Ashwin Shahani and the Michigan Materials Society (MMS) organized an outreach activity for undeclared undergraduate students. Participants investigated the tempering of chocolate as it relates to materials processing.  Tempering is a heat treatment that is often used in the automotive industry to achieve desired mechanical properties.  It is also widely used in the food industry, in this case to crystallize the cocoa butter that gives chocolate its shiny appearance and crisp snap.  Through this interactive outreach activity, students engaged all their senses (particularly sight, touch, and taste) to learn about important phenomena underlying materials processing.

"The chocolate tempering process just seemed like the perfect activity to showcase how interesting and fun materials science can be," said MMS President Sahil Dagli, who added that MMS is planning additional outreach events this spring.

Click here to view a photo gallery of the event.