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Malvern Instruments Chocolate Science

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A game run by representatives of Malvern Instruments for guessing the quality of a random sample of chocolate then using the latest material characterisation technology to find out the actual quality of the chocolate.


Mastersizer 3000
Hydro Sight
Hydro MV
Laptop running MS3000 and Hydro Sight software
Sample dish
IPA - enough for all teams

Measurement SOP (attached)
Measurement Report (attached)

Diagram to show of MS3000 (attached)
Diagram to colour in - 1 per person (attached)
Schedule of bases (attached)

Envelope per team with pieces of chocolate of some type, enough for 1 per team member plus 2 extra peices for measurement
Chocolate of all 3 types, enough for 1 peice per person.
TBC - science equipment.


Prepare the following bases in a side room / space and assign a Malvern technical specialist to run each base:

BASE 1 – 10 mins / team – Preparation of sample. This is where each team will bring their chocolate sample to prepare for measurement. If there is enough time, another team member could have a go at preparing a second sample of the same chocolate. From Base 1 the team needs to be ready to go to Base 2.

BASE 2 – 10 mins / team – Measurement of sample. Mastersizer 3000 connected to Laptop and Printer, with Hydro MV and Hydro Sight accessories attached. A team will bring their prepared sample, and run through a measurement SOP (attached) to get measurements. The SOP will print a prepared report (attached) that shows their average result on a graph and also has a custom calculation that uses the Dv value to work out whether the sample is Bad, Ok, or Good chocolate based upon what is determined beforehand. They will be given this print out to take away with them. As measurement is happening, show the team the live view on the Hydro Sight of the chocolate particles. Notes when running SOP: Use accessory page to clean, then switch to run SOP to get stabilising. After initial background taken, assess stability and retake background until stable. Add sample above green then press start - ultrasound and delay will happen then measurements taken.

Prepare for the following virtual bases that will rotate around team tables and brief a person to run each base:

BASE 0 – 5 mins / team – Guess chocolate quality. A leader takes an unlabelled sample of chocolate of random type, with enough pieces for each member to taste plus more for measurement samples, then takes this sample to the table of one of the teams. Leader gives each team member a piece of chocolate to taste, and they need to guess whether that sample is Bad, Ok, or Good. The agreed guess for the team is written on the sample packaging. They will now be sent on to Base 1.

BASE X – 10 mins / team – The science behind particle size measurement. TBC – diffraction, absorption, refraction.


Introduction: - Start by giving an introduction of Malvern technical specialists, what Malvern Instruments does, and the game that will be played.

Familiarisation (15 mins) : - Divide the group into teams (Sixes / Patrols), who sit at a table. Assign a leader per table. Leader has samples of chocolate of types Bad, Ok, Good, with enough pieces per type for each team member to taste. Leader randomly chooses a type of chocolate and gives to all team members to taste, and they need to guess whether that sample is Bad, Ok, or Good. Leader corrects them as to correct type, then repeat for the other types. Aim is for the team to become vaguely familiar with the taste of Bad, Ok, and Good chocolate so that they have a chance of guessing correctly later on.

Bases :- The bases as described above begin. Teams need to rotate through bases in a particular order. Refer to attached schedule for how 5 teams would rotate through bases.

Those teams not at a base stay at their tables and begin colouring and labelling a very basic diagram of laser diffraction (attached). This needs to be kicked off by a Malvern specialist, who to start with, won’t be needed at their base until 5 mins into the schedule. Show a picture of the Mastersizer 3000 (probably like we have used before in Schools) showing what happens, to help them complete their diagram.


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