An investigation of the rheology and indentation response of vegetable shortening using finite element analysis
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Many soft food materials, including vegetable shortening, exhibit complex rheological behaviour with properties that resemble those of a solid and a liquid simultaneously. The fundamental parameters used to describe the rheological response of vegetable shortening were obtained from uniaxial compression tests, including monotonic and cyclic compression, as well as creep and stress relaxation tests. The fundamental parameters obtained from the various compression tests were then used in two mechanical models (viscoelastic and elasto-visco-plastic) to predict the compression and conical indentation response of vegetable shortening. The accuracy of the two models was studied with the help of the commercially available finite element analysis software package Abaqus. It was determined that the viscoelastic model was not suitable for the prediction of the rheological response of shortening. On the other hand, the proposed elasto-visco-plastic model predicted with reasonable accuracy the uniaxial compression and indentation experimental response of vegetable shortening.