Thermomechanical Stress Analysis of Hydrated Vital Gluten with Large Amplitude Oscillatory Shear Rheology

Monika C. Wehrli, Anna Weise, Tim Kratky, Thomas Becker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Vital gluten is increasingly researched as a non-food product for biodegradable materials. During processing, the protein network is confronted with increased thermal and mechanical stress, altering the network characteristics. With the prospect of using the protein for materials beyond food, it is important to understand the mechanical properties at various processing temperatures. To achieve this, the study investigates hydrated vital gluten under thermomechanical stress based on large amplitude oscillatory shear (LAOS) rheology. LAOS rheology was conducted at increasing shear strains (0.01–100%), various frequencies (5–20 rad/s) and temperatures of 25, 45, 55, 65, 70 and 85 °C. With elevating temperatures up to 55 °C, the linear viscoelastic moduli decrease, indicating material softening. Then, protein polymerization and the formation of new cross-links due to thermal denaturation cause more network connectivity, resulting in significantly higher elastic moduli. Beyond the linear viscoelastic regime, the strain-stiffening ratio rises disproportionately. This effect becomes even more evident at higher temperatures. Lacking a viscous contribution, the highly elastic but also stiff network shows less mechanical resilience. Additionally, at these elevated temperatures, structural changes during the protein’s denaturation and network shrinkage due to water evaporation could be visualized with confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM).

Original languageEnglish
Article number3442
Issue number16
StatePublished - Aug 2023


  • CLSM
  • LAOS rheology
  • Lissajous–Bowditch
  • biopolymer
  • denaturation
  • nonlinear viscoelasticity


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