Manipulation of Recrystallization and Network Formation of Oil-Dispersed Micronized Fat Crystals

Langmuir. 2019 Feb 12;35(6):2221-2229. doi: 10.1021/acs.langmuir.8b03349. Epub 2019 Jan 28.


A detailed investigation was carried out on the modulation of the coupling between network formation and the recrystallization of oil-dispersed micronized fat crystal (MFC) nanoplatelets by varying oil composition, shear, and temperature. Sunflower (SF) and bean (BO) oils were used as dispersing media for MFC nanoplatelets. During MFC dispersion production at high shear, a significant increase in the average crystal thickness (ACT) could be observed, pointing to recrystallization of the MFC nanoplatelets. More rapid recrystallization of MFC occurred in the SF dispersion than in the BO dispersion, which is attributed to higher solubility of MFC in the SF oil. When the dispersions were maintained under low shear in narrow gap Couette geometry, we witnessed two stages of recrystallization (measured via rheo-SAXD) and the development of a local yield stress (measured via rheo-MRI). In the first stage, shear-enabled mass transfer induces rapid recrystallization of randomly distributed MFC nanoplatelets, which is reflected in a rapid increase in ACT (rheo-SAXD). The formation of a space-filling weak-link MFC network explains the increase in yield stress (assessed in real time by rheo-MRI). In this second stage, recrystallization slows down and yield stress decreases as a result of the formation of MFC aggregates in the weak link network, as observed by confocal Raman imaging. The high fractal dimension of the weak-link network indicates that aggregation takes place via a particle-cluster mechanism. The effects of oil type and shear on the recrystallization rate and network strength could be reproduced in a stirred bowl with a heterogeneous shear stress field, which opens perspectives for the rational manipulation of MFC thickness and network strength under industrial processing conditions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Crystallization
  • Nanostructures / chemistry*
  • Rheology / methods
  • Solubility
  • Sunflower Oil / chemistry
  • Temperature
  • Triglycerides / chemistry*


  • Sunflower Oil
  • Triglycerides