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What is Thixotropy?

Thixotropy is defined as a reversible trait of specific fluids or gels which display viscosity in its normal state, but are less viscous and flow when exposed to shear stress such as mixing, agitation, shaking and the like. These also tend to reset to a viscous state over a certain period of time.

The amount of viscosity of a thixotropic fluid is relative and dependent on the amount of stress applied as well as the length of time it is applied. The longer stress is applied and the more force used, the thinner a gel or fluid will become. Thixotropy is a common property found in certain natural materials and colloids.

There are a number of practical applications for thixotropy in the food industry. Commercially manufactured items such as ketchup and sauces are produced with this property in order for it to squeeze out of containers easily.

In modern cuisine, thixotropy is also a much favored characteristic in the creation of fluid gels. This allows for the creation of a cross of gels, purees and sauces. Such creations have shape, yet are still spreadable and do not run freely when plated.