School of Biosciences

Invited Talk: Effects of plant-based and dairy proteins on oral lubrication and mouthfeel

Thursday 9th June 2022 (14:00-15:30)
Dr Gleb Yakubov 

On 9th June, 14:00, MSTeams format, Dr Sorin-Cristian Vladescu from Imperial College will be giving a talk “Effects of plant-based and dairy proteins on oral lubrication and mouthfeel". The talk will cover topics of biomimetic friction measurements, thin film dynamics of protein solutions and suspensions, their interactions with saliva and its impact on mouthfeel.

Understanding how certain proteins cause astringency is necessary in order to improve the mouthfeel and popularity of plant-based foods. Sorin and his team studied protein interactions during oral processes using an elastomer-based soft-contact interface lubricated by ex-vivo human saliva. Friction measurements and in-contact imaging were implemented, while food consumption was simulated by introducing model plant and animal-based proteins. The observed effects attributed to the mechanisms of how food proteins interact with salivary proteins thus disrupting their adhesion. This interaction is shown to occur both on the surface and in the bulk of the fluid. In order to demonstrate how the microscale breakdown of food can be studied - the new visualisation method was developed to probe the flow patterns within and around the rubbing (tribological) contact.

Please join this talk @2 pm on 9th June 2022 by the MSTeams link below:


Sorin-Cristian Vlădescu is a Research Associate in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and a member of the Tribology Group at Imperial College London.  He studied Automotive Engineering and obtained an MSc in Automatic Transmissions from the University Politehnica of Bucharest (2007).  

Following a five-year period in the industry as the Head of After Sales Department for Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep Romania, he joined Imperial College where he obtained a PhD in IC engine friction reduction, sponsored by Ford Motor Company (2012-2016).  

Over the past six years at Imperial College, he developed a range of novel, cutting-edge experimental methods to support the innovation processes of market leaders across industries (e.g., Toyota, Ford, Volvo, Repsol, PepsiCo, Ab Inbev, Motif FoodWorks) in their quest to gain competitive advantage whilst meeting environmental sustainability standards. 

He helped tackle real-life problems such as seal failure in aircraft landing gear (Trelleborg), door seal performance (Toyota), energy losses in crankshaft bearings (Volvo), stick-slip effects in hydraulic seals (Afton Chemical), energy efficiency of Start-Stop vehicles (Mahle), friction behaviour of viscosity modifiers (Repsol), and saliva lubrication mechanisms to improve the taste of soft beverages (PepsiCo), non-alcoholic beers (AB InBev) and plant-based proteins (Motif FoodWorks). For this research, he was awarded the IMechE Tribology Trust Bronze Medal (2017), two Best Poster prizes and four innovation patents. 

In 2019 he was offered a six-month JSPS Research Fellowship in Yokohama National University (YNU) to work on electric vehicle component superlubricity. This coming autumn he will join King’s College London as a Lecturer in the Engineering Department. 

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