Engineering Innovation Podcast and Radio Series

A Broken (Chocolate) Heart

PostedFebruary 14, 2004

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The sensation of chocolate is enhanced by the way it breaks in your mouth—and that depends on its microscopic structure.  Size and texture of the bitten pieces are key to how chocolate melts, feels on the tongue, and ultimately tastes.  So Worcester Polytechnic Institute engineers have teamed with chocolate researchers. They're scrutinizing candy with a special scanning laser microscope originally developed for NASA.  They've found that, like romance, the hotter the better.  Lab director Chris Brown says the warmer your chocolate when you bite in, the more nooks and crannies—technically called "surface area"—available to taste buds when it fractures.  Unlike in love, a clean break may not be as good.  So while you can't give her the moon, you can present your Valentine chocolate with the benefit of information from NASA-inspired technology.  With the National Academy of Engineering, Randy Atkins, WTOP Radio.