Surface texture modifications for oral processing applications

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Colleges, School and Institutes


The surfaces currently used in soft tribology when assessing oral processing in-vitro are not yet fully representative of the oral cavity. Surface topography, among other physical and chemical qualities, plays a key role in determining friction properties. This work examines the friction properties of pillar textures of 500 μm and 1000 μm in polydimethylsiloxane that resemble papillae found on the human tongue. Initially a system with Newtonian fluids was investigated using these textured discs. It was found the area density of pillars affected hydrodynamic lubrication, with a greater area density promoting full film lubrication. Model hard, spherical particulate suspensions were also examined showing a reduction in friction coefficient so long as particles were smaller than the pillars; particles that were too large for the cavities increased friction. Soft, deformable particulate gels, commonly used in food products, demonstrated different behaviour to the hard particulate systems. The findings show great potential for a more realistic analysis of complex food formulations and understanding of their behaviour as they are processed in the mouth, although a number of other factors still need to developed.


Original languageEnglish
Article number100132
Early online date17 May 2020
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2020


  • Oral processing, Particulate suspensions, Surface texture, Biotribology