Food Material Science


Programme fact file

Programme title: Food Material Science 
Qualification: 10 or 20 credits. Can be taken as a standalone module, or as part of the postgraduate programmes in Agrifood.
Start date: TBC
Duration: Each intensive one-day workshop will operate as a stand-alone unit. Participants can choose from any of the 12 topics on offer according to their own interests and requirements. Single workshops can be attended for CPD purposes, or participants can opt for 10 or 20 credit versions by choosing 5 or 10 workshops respectively.
Maximum places available: Limited
Fees: £300 per one-day workshop, however 50% bursaries are available for UK agrifood sector through AgriFood ATP.
Available on weekends/evenings: No
School: School of Biosciences

Programme overview

Course description

This module is aimed at those working in the agrifood sector (more likely in a technical function) who wish to gain a detailed scientific understanding of the functional properties of materials that determine the physical nature of food products.

The module will offer individual one-day workshops on an array of topics, from raw materials through to production and assessment of the material properties of the food, deemed to be of interest to the food industry. The variety allows the student to select topics which complement their personal interests as well as other modules leading towards an MSc in Agrifood. These topics have been grouped under the following subject areas: Starch, Thickeners, and Extrusion Technology; Lipids and Emulsions; and Non-Sensory Measurement of Food Material Properties.

Programme detail

Course details

The topics offered for study are:


  • Structure and nomenclature of starches.
  • Changes to starch during processing.
  • Relevance of the state diagram and retrogradation.
  • Modified starches.
  • Lectures and practical demonstrations.

Thickeners and gelling agents

  • Background to different ingredients and their properties.
  • Structure-functionality in process and product.
  • Ingredient interchangeability and replacement strategies.


  • Introduction to thermal mechanical extrusion.
  • Measurements associated with extrusion.
  • Extrusion of starch based materials.
  • Extrusion of protein based materials.
  • Lectures and practical demonstrations.

Food Emulsions

  • Introduction to emulsion stabilisation.
  • Methods for assessing emulsion stability.
  • Practical work.


  • Basic chemistry of oils and fats and their physical properties.
  • Tailoring oils for functional performance.
  • Case study – fats used in chocolate manufacture.

Texture Analysis

  • Principle of Texture Analysis.
  • Scope and capability of equipment.

Thermal Methods 1

  • Fundamentals of thermal measurements.
  • A series of lectures on the fundamentals of the most common thermal methods to be found in the average Food Science or Pharmacy Laboratory.

Thermal Methods 2

  • The use of Differential Scanning Calorimetry, Thermo-Gravimetric Analysis, Dynamic Mechanical Analysis and Dynamic Vapour Sorption in food science.
  • Practical demonstrations by instrument manufacturers of some of the key techniques on common food related materials.
    The practical use of machines will be demonstrated and the data obtained will be examined and analysed.

Particle Sizing

  • Why measure particle size?
  • Introduction to principles of common methods.
  • Lectures and practical demonstrations.

Interfacial Properties

  • Introduction to food interfaces and emulsifiers.
  • Interfacial tension: what is it? How is it measured? Dependencies?
  • Practical examples for the need of emulsifiers in a food formulation.

Fundamentals of Rheology 1: Viscosity

  • Introduction to viscosity.
  • Definition of shear stress, shear rate, shear viscosity, Newton’s law.
  • Shear rate dependent behaviour, yield stress.
  • Time dependent flow behaviour.
  • Effect of temperature.

Fundamentals of Rheology 2: Viscoelasticity

  • Introduction to viscoelastic materials.
  • Definition of deformation, strain, shear modulus, Hooke’s law.
  • Creep test.
  • Relaxation test.
  • Oscillatory tests: Amplitude sweep, frequency sweep.

Food Rheology

  • Essential fundamentals of shear rheology.
  • Overview of fundamental and empirical methods.
  • Practical examples.


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The University of Nottingham,
Sutton Bonington Campus,
Sutton Bonington,
LE12 5RD


About Sutton Bonington


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AgriFood ATP
Sutton Bonington Campus
University of Nottingham
LE12 5RD
t:   +44 (0) 115 951 6285

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