by: Dorothy Spencer
Barry Callebaut North America, a branch of the world’s largest chocolate manufacturer, is assisting several engineers and architectural colleagues at Princeton University to test the potential of using chocolate as a building material.
The group have conducted a series of tests using various formulas to determine its strength and elasticity using the hypothesis that with less fat and smaller particles, and greater surface area, the chocolate is stiffer, and thus, more cohesive.
In fact, the group has designed its first full-scale prototype (shown above) as a pavilion designed for use at a café. The pavilion will be on display for several weeks, of course in a temperature-controlled environment in a New York City building. One of the scientists, Alexander Jordan, writes, “To avoid exposure to direct sunlight coming through the south-facing windows, obstruction of customers and staff traffic, and accidental collisions, the shell was designed to use the vertical space and span between the fixed pavilions that separate the café’s tables.” The pavilion was constructed by casting pieces of chocolate (with a melting point of 125 degrees Fahrenheit), assembling them over a model, and held together by depositing molten chocolate through a syringe.
Jordan goes on to say, “Although we have associations with chocolate as a highly refined food, there are few precedents of how to translate its familiar sensation into architectural and engineering language.”
Chocolate lovers from all around the globe are happy to see this kind of study and give it an A+, keep up the delicious work!