A novel test is reported which allows the measurement of the friction of molten chocolate in a model tongue–palate rubbing contact. Friction was measured over a rubbing period of 150 s for a range of commercial samples with different cocoa content (85–5% w/w). Most of the friction curves had a characteristic pattern: initially a rapid increase occurs as the high-viscosity chocolate melt is sheared in the contact region followed by friction drop as the film breaks down. The exceptions were the very high (85%) and very low (~ 5%) cocoa content samples which gave fairly constant friction traces over the test time. Differences were observed in the initial maximum and final friction coefficients depending on chocolate composition. Generally, the initial maximum friction increased with increasing cocoa content. At the end of the test, the rubbed films on the lower slide were examined by optical microscopy and infrared micro-reflection spectroscopy. In the rubbed track, the chocolate structure was severely degraded and predominately composed of lipid droplets, which was confirmed by the IR spectra. The new test provides a method to distinguish between the friction behaviour of different chocolate formulations in a rubbing low-pressure contact. It also allows us to identify changes in the degraded chocolate film that can be linked to the friction profile. Further development of the test method is required to improve simulation of the tongue–palate contact including the effect of saliva and this will be the next stage of the research.
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