What melts in a steelworks but not in your hand?

One of the world’s most delicious types of candy has a significant amount in common with the material that holds up the world’s tallest skyscrapers. Don’t believe it? Well, then maybe you should check out The Unexpected Science of Chocolate and Steel.

Certain production processes can determine the flavour and feel of chocolate. Similar aspects of processing also impact the strength and ductility of steel.
Certain production processes can determine the flavour and feel of chocolate. Similar aspects of processing also impact the strength and ductility of steel.

Organised by the 4TU.Research Centre High-Tech Materials, the day-long symposium will take place in the Science Centre on Monday, March 13, 2017. Attendees can learn a great deal about crucial elements in the production processes of these two cornerstones of the food and manufacturing industries.

"It's an event that I think is of interest to anyone studying how the properties of materials impact their usability," said co-organiser Dr. Marcel Sluiter from TU Delft's Materials Science and Engineering department. "New types of steel have much improved car safety, for example. Nowadays, collisions lead to fewer fatalities than in the 1970s because the new steel grades absorb vastly more kinetic energy."

Crystal structures
Certain production processes can determine the flavour and feel of chocolate. Similar aspects of processing also impact the strength and ductility of steel. "Some of these methods are historical or simply practical," Dr. Sluiter said. "If you want chocolate that melts in your mouth and not in your hand, as that old M&Ms slogan once said, how do you achieve that? There are many different approaches now that can involve things like controlling the crystal structures in the cocoa butter."

At the symposium, Dr. Yrjö Roos from the University College Cork, an expert in Food and Nutritional Sciences, will be on hand to discuss the role of glass transitions and crystallization in food production. The University of Oulu's Professor David Porter will also lead a lecture explaining methods used to create specific types of steel.

Sweet tooth
Those looking for a more hands-on experience can participate in demonstrations conducted by researchers from TU Delft's Materials Science and Engineering department. If you have a sweet tooth, chocolate makers from Delft's De Lelie chocolaterie will host a presentation as well. There will also be quizzes and the winners can take home some of the tastiest chocolate in Delft as prizes.

Registration information and a full schedule of the symposium's events and lectures can be found on their website.