Physical Properties of Food

NAME OF THE COURSE Physical Properties of Food



Year of study


Course teacher

Assoc Prof Vesna Sokol

Credits (ECTS)


Associate teachers

Type of instruction (number of hours)






Status of the course


Percentage of application of e-learning

0 %


Course objectives

Introduce students to the physical properties of food products as well as the changes of physical properties of food which occur during food processing.

Course enrolment requirements and entry competences required for the course


Learning outcomes expected at the level of the course (4 to 10 learning outcomes)

After successfully passing the course, students will be able to:
- define and describe the physical properties of food (rheological properties, thermophysical properties, diffusion, dielectric properties ...)
- explain the physical phenomena that occur in the operations and processes in the food industry,
- describe the basic principles and possibilities of application of different methods (spectroscopy, viscometry, DLS, SLS, TEM, SANS) for exploring the structure and composition of food products and thermophysical properties (DTA, DSC),
- to plan the laboratory procedures and independently to conduct an experiment in accordance with the plan of research,
- to implement appropriate computer programs for numerical processing of experimental data and graphic representation of the results obtained; discuss the results and reach a conclusion at the end.

Course content broken down in detail by weekly class schedule (syllabus)

1st week: Introduction. Introduction to operations and processes in the food industry.
2nd week: Rheological properties of food. Elasticity, plasticity, viscosity.
3rd week: The viscosity of non-Newtonian fluid. Rheological properties of dough.
4th week: Experimental techniques of measuring viscosity. Transport of Newtonian and non-Newtonian fluids.
5th week: Rheological properties of granular and powdered foods. Rheological properties of the suspension.
6th week: Application of experimental techniques to study the structure and composition of food products (spectroscopy, DLS, SLS, TEM, SANS).
7th week: Transport of granular and powdered foods and suspension. Textural properties.
8th week: Thermophysical properties. The phase transition temperatures. Freezing temperature. Defrost temperature. The phase transitions at low temperatures.
9th week: The application of experimental techniques in the study of thermophysical properties (DTA, DSC).
10th week: Definitions and determination of the specific heat, latent heat, enthalpy, density, thermal conductivity and diffusion.
11th week: The water in the food. Water activity. Absolute and relative humidity. Sorption isotherms.
12th week: Interface phenomena: liquid-gas, liquid-liquid, solid-liquid, solid-gas.
13th week: Emulsions. Emulsifiers. Aggregation. Sedimentation. Coalescence.
14th week: Foams. Mechanical equilibrium and structure of the foams. Optical properties. The influence of different parameters on the stability of the foams.
15th week: Dielectric properties of food. Diffusion and mass transfer.
Laboratory exercises:
1) The density and bulk density, 2) Refractometry, 3) Surface tension, 4) Adsorption

Format of instruction:

Student responsibilities

Students are required to attend classes and actively participate in the teaching process. This will be recorded and evaluated in making a final assessment.

Screening student work (name the proportion of ECTS credits for eachactivity so that the total number of ECTS credits is equal to the ECTS value of the course):

Class attendance




Practical training


Experimental work








Seminar essay






Oral exam




Written exam






Grading and evaluating student work in class and at the final exam

The course content is divided into two units that students take over
partial exams or joining final exam at the end of the semester. The exam
is considered passed if students achieve at least 60%. The final grade is
based on the evaluation of partial exams. Grades: <60% not satisfied;
60-69% successful (2) 70-79% good (3), 80-89% very good (4), 90-100%
excellent (5).

Required literature (available in the library and via other media)


Number of copies in the library

Availability via other media

John N. Coupland, An Introduction to the Physical Chemistry of Food, 2014, Springer New York


Ignacio Arana, Physical Properties of Foods: Novel Measurement Techniques and Applications, 2016, CRC Press


P. Walstra: Physical Chemistry of Foods, Marcel Dekker, Inc., New York/Basel, 2003.


Optional literature (at the time of submission of study programme proposal)

J. Sjoblom: Encyclopedic Handbook of Emulsion Technology, Emulsion Technology Handbook, C.H.I.P.S., USA, 2001.
A. Howard, A. Barnes: Handbook of Elementary Rheology, Cambrian Printers, UK, 2000.
B. A. Fricke, B. R. Becker: Evaluation of Thermophysical PropertyModels for Foods, Hvac and R Research 7 (2001) 311.
A. Sun, S. Gunasekaran: Measuring Rheological Characteristics and Spreadability of Soft Foods, Journal of Texture Studies 40 (2009) 275.
R. A. F. Cabral, C. E. Orrego-Alzate A. L. Gabas, J. Telis-Romero: Rheological and thermophysical properties of blackberry juice, Ciênc. Tecnol. Aliment., Campinas, 27 (2007) 589.

Quality assurance methods that ensure the acquisition of exit competences

Quality assurance will be performed at three levels:
(1) University Level;
(2) Faculty Level by Quality Control Committee;
(3) Lecturer’s Level.

Other (as the proposer wishes to add)