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Ice Crystal Coarsening in Ice Cream during Cooling: A Comparison of Theory and Experiment

Department of Mechanical Engineering, University College London, London WC1E 7JE, UK
Research Complex at Harwell, RAL, Didcot OX11 0FA, UK
Unilever Research & Development, Olivier van Noortlaan, 3133AT Vlaardingen, The Netherlands
School of Materials Science and Engineering, Dalian University of Technology, Dalian 116024, China
Unilever R&D, Colworth MK44 1LQ, UK
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Crystals 2019, 9(6), 321;
Received: 19 April 2019 / Revised: 20 June 2019 / Accepted: 21 June 2019 / Published: 25 June 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ice Crystals)
PDF [2318 KB, uploaded 25 June 2019]


Ice cream is a complex multi-phase structure and its perceived quality is closely related to the small size of ice crystals in the product. Understanding the quantitative coarsening behaviour of ice crystals will help manufacturers optimise ice cream formulations and processing. Using synchrotron X-ray tomography, we measured the time-dependent coarsening (Ostwald ripening) of ice crystals in ice cream during cooling at 0.05 °C/min. The results show ice crystal coarsening is highly temperature dependent, being rapid from ca. −6 to −12 °C but significantly slower at lower temperatures. We developed a numerical model, based on established coarsening theory, to calculate the relationship between crystal diameter, cooling rate and the weight fraction of sucrose in solution. The ice crystal diameters predicted by the model are found to agree well with the measured values if matrix diffusion is assumed to be slowed by a factor of 1.2 due to the presence of stabilizers or high molecular weight sugars in the ice cream formulation. View Full-Text
Keywords: ice cream; microstructure; ice crystals; tomography; modelling; coarsening kinetics ice cream; microstructure; ice crystals; tomography; modelling; coarsening kinetics

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Mo, J.; Groot, R.D.; McCartney, G.; Guo, E.; Bent, J.; van Dalen, G.; Schuetz, P.; Rockett, P.; Lee, P.D. Ice Crystal Coarsening in Ice Cream during Cooling: A Comparison of Theory and Experiment. Crystals 2019, 9, 321.

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