June 23, 2010
Using Magnetic Levitation To Analyze Food And Beverages
Scientists are reporting development of a new use for magnetic levitation, or "maglev," the futuristic technology best known for enabling high-speed passenger trains to float above the tracks. In ACS' bi-weekly Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, they describe putting maglev to use in an inexpensive sensor for analyzing food, water, and other beverages.
George Whitesides and colleagues note that measurements of a substance's density are important in the food industry, health care, and other settings because they provide key information about a substance's chemical composition. Density measurements, for instance, can determine the sugar content of soft drinks, the amount of alcohol in wine, or whether irrigation water contains too much salt to use on a farmer's field. Existing devices for making those measurements are far from ideal, and a need exists for simpler, less expensive, easy-to-use technology.
Image Caption: Foods and beverages, such as cheese and milk, may be tested for their fat content in the future with a new sensor that uses magnetic levitation, or "maglev," the technology that allows high-speed trains to float above the tracks. Credit: iStock
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