Quasi-Static Force and Deformation. Most force/deformation measurements are destructive, for example, the familiar Magness-Taylor fruit firmness test (a penetrometer) or the Kramer shear test (multiblade shear widely used in the processed foods industry), or too slow for on-line use, such as the Cornell firmness tester (a creep tester) (42). A nondestructive, noncontact firmness detector was recently patented (43) that uses a laser to measure the deflection caused by a short puff of pressurized air, similar to some devices used by ophthalmologists to detect glaucoma. Under fixed air pressure, firmer products deflect less than softer ones. This appears to be a quite localized measurement; that is, a very small portion of the total fruit or vegetable is actually tested. In early tests, laser-puff readings correlated fairly well with destructive Magness-Taylor firmness values for apple, cantaloupe, kiwifruit, nectarine, orange, pear, peach, plum, and strawberry.

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