Influence of temperature and relative humidity on the physical states of cotton candy

Theodore P. Labuza, Peter S. Labuza

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31 Scopus citations


Cotton candy is made by melting crystalline sucrose above 210C in a bowl which shoots molten liquid sucrose into the air where it rapidly cools and dries into an amorphous glassy solid state. As such, it is highly hygroscopic, picking up moisture as %RH increases and becoming rubbery. The glass transition line (Tg vs. %RH) divides the two states. When rubbery, cotton candy should collapse forming crystalline sucrose becoming unsaleable. Cotton candy was stored at 25C and at %RHfrom ∼0% to 75%. Moisture gain/ loss, visual observations, and powder X-ray diffraction using a Seimens 5005-powder X-ray diffractometer were used to evaluate collapse and crystallization. At ∼0% and 11% RH (below Tg), cotton candy maintained a stable structure for at least 12 months. At 33% RH (just at Tg), it collapsed and crystallized within 3 days while at 45, 54 and 75% RH, collapse and crystallization occurred in less than 1 day.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)274-287
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Food Processing and Preservation
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 2004


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