MagLev train technology used to measure fat content
Magnetic levitation technology, which is best known for enabling high-speed trains to float above tracks, could also be used to measure fat content in food, according to scientists from Harvard University.
Writing in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, the researchers describe how magnetic levitation – or ‘MagLev’ – can be used to take density measurements that could be useful to food processors.
Researchers used the technology to analyse the fat content of milk, cheese, vegetable oil and peanut butter, with the aid of a special sensor filled with a solution of paramagnetic ions, and two magnets at each end.
Samples of different materials were placed inside, with the distance they migrated through the fluid providing a measure of their density.
Assessing the performance of the sensor, the scientists said it was accurate, rapid, and flexible, and therefore suitable for a variety of liquids and solids, including those with irregular shapes. But they went on to say that the paramagnetic solution may be incompatible with certain substances.