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Chapter 2: Molecular Organization

Pages 15-23
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1094/1891127020.002
ISBN: 1-891127-02-0


Topics Covered

  • Fat and Emulsifier Crystals
    • Triglyceride Crystals
    • Emulsifier Crystals
    • Crystal Modifiers
  • Mesophases
    • Mesophase Structures
    • Surfactant Phase Diagrams
    • Significance for Food Applications

Introduction to Chapter

Solid materials can be either crystalline or amorphous. In a crystalline solid (e.g., salt), the molecules are arranged in a repeating three-dimensional pattern. An amorphous material (frequently called a glass) has no such internal organization. A beam of photons (most often X rays) directed onto a crystalline material is refracted into a regular pattern that can be recorded (e.g., on a photographic film) and analyzed to obtain the dimensions of the crystal unit cell. From this information, the orientation of individual molecules is often inferred. If the object of X-ray analysis is a single crystal (not a powder), even more information can be obtained, and often the location of individual atoms within the unit cell can be determined.