Easter Experiments With Chocolate and X-Ray
Maybe you’ve been curious about what’s inside the chocolate. Scientists at the UK’s University of Manchester have used X-Ray Computer Tomography to scan a chocolate Easter bunny, an Easter egg, a Toblerone, a Crème Egg, a Kit Kat, Maltesers, Ferrero Rocher, and a Double Decker bar.
The Easter holiday is proving a tricky time: the researchers want to keep investigating important matters with their imaging tech, yet their friends and family keep burdening them with mountains of chocolate. What should they do?
Turns out, the answer was there all along: the Manchester scientists realized they had to use their advanced X-ray equipment to capture detailed 3D models of their Easter choc.
“Since the 19th century chocolate has become synonymous with Easter,” says Dr Tristan Lowe, Senior Experimental Officer at MXIF. “Now in the 21st century we can finally reveal some of its hidden secrets, and our analysis has some really interesting findings.”
Using their X-ray technology, the researchers were able to analyze their tasty chocolate at micrometer level (one thousandth of millimeter), a process that resulted in a series of videos complete with accompanying scientific analysis.
In total, Lowe’s team X-rayed eight kinds of Easter chocolate: a chocolate Easter bunny, an Easter egg, a Toblerone, a Crème Egg, a Kit Kat, Maltesers, a Ferrero Rocher, and a Double Decker bar.
These important scientific experiments have unearthed some interesting results, such as the relatively un-chocolatey nature of the popular Kit Kat bar.
Analysis revealed that almost half of a Kit Kat isn’t made out of chocolate: 53% of the bar is chocolate, but its biscuit (18%) and wafer (29%) elements make up a significant 47% of the bar. The researchers say the structure of a Kit Kat is similar in many ways to certain rocks they are investigating for the extraction of oil and gas.
“The interesting part of the Kit Kat bar is the fine wafer structure that can be analyzed using a network model similar to that used to understand how the porosity in rocks is connected, and this has implications for extraction,” Lowe explains. “In the video, the visualized network shows that the wafer is a complex interconnected structure that is fairly uniform in shape.”
The rock-solid Yorkie, on the other hand, turned out to be the most dense bar tested—which should be no surprise to anybody who has almost lost a tooth trying to break the unyielding British treat, named after the city of its origin, York. The porosity in the Yorkie, the researchers say, bears a close resemblance to the pores found in 3D printed metal components.
Interesting 3D models for you.