Homogenizers are used to produce a countless number of products across many industries. In determining the ideal homogenizer operating pressure and settings for a particular product, the first step is to establish an effective method of evaluation. Here we discuss five ways to test that your homogenizer is operating correctly:
The Babcock Fat test
Dating back from the early part of the 20th century, this test is a useful way to determine the fat content of a homogenized milk sample. Basically, milk is measured into a graduated test tube, and an equal volume of sulfuric acid is added. This mixture is centrifuged, and the fat that separates out is measured.
The Top and Bottom test
Also common in milk testing, this test determines the “homogenization index”. The top layer of milk is separated from a sample that has been sitting for 48 hours at a temperature between 40 and 50 °F (4 to 8 °C). The percentage of fat in the remaining (bottom) portion of the milk sample is subtracted from the percentage of fat in the top portion. This difference is divided by the percentage of fat in the top portion, and these are all multiplied by 100. The index should be less than 10 percent.
A microscope can be used to determine the average particle or droplet size of the homogenized product. This method is useful to provide a quick indication as to the product homogeneity; but it lacks objectivity.
The Farrall Index is a microscopic method for determining homogenization efficiency, based on the number of droplets having a diameter of < 2 µ. A Farrall index ranging from 5 to 7 implies “excellent” homogenization efficiency.
Rapid Optical test
Homogenizer efficiency can be tested directly by measuring the transmission of milk samples of thickness ca. 0·1 mm., using wavelengths in the near infrared region.
When the dispersed and continuous-phase viscosities are low, it means that your homogenizer is operating efficiently.
Improve Your Products with DeBEE High Pressure Homogenizers
Did you know that BEE International offers free, confidential sample testing and evaluation? Simply contact us to request an application questionnaire, and send the completed form back to us, along with a sample of your product. Your product will be processed on a DeBEE 2000 High Pressure Homogenizer and returned to you, along with a detailed evaluation and analysis report.
For more information on particle size reduction and how you can achieve efficient and consistent results, download our FREE eBook: