Is Chocolateering Just Like Plastics Engineering?

I don’t know about you, but my stocking was always “stuffed” (or more accurately: lightly sprinkled) with chocolate Santa’s, Hershey’s Kisses, m&m’s, and Andes Mints. Bring on the sugar buzz and get ready for a big, chocolatey mess!

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Have you ever wondered how chocolate manages to melt in your mouth, and not your hands? (Unless you are a toddler, then somehow everything melts in your hands.) The key is in the molecular structures and melting phases of the ingredients used to make it. Just like plastics.

“It is really amazing because the solid phases in cocoa butter are so close that one melts at [96.8°F] and the other at [100.4°F], so it is relatively easy to make a mistake during manufacturing,” according to Professor Dagastine, from the Melbourne School of Engineering at the University of Melbourne. If the chocolate is not cooled properly, the chocolate will melt at 100.4 degrees making it taste grainy, which is an easy mistake to make because of this tight temperature tolerance.

Plastics engineers similarly work within tight temperature tolerances to create plastics that have specific material properties. With 3D printing on the rise, plastics engineering has been exploding with innovation. 

Our 3D printing team at Broadview is obsessed with keeping up on the latest in material developments and we love helping our customers chose the right materials for their many applications. Our model makers are the same way with urethane casting materials, producing urethane prototypes with material properties that mimic production materials.

Learn more about our prototype capabilities. Or email us about your project so we can help you navigate the complex world of prototyping and manufacturing with plastics to a successful product launch. And be sure to enjoy your holiday celebrations with plenty of chocolate!

We elves try to stick to the four main food groups: candy, candy canes, candy corns and syrup.
— Elf / the north pole