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- We developed a product that reacts to direct heat by changing its shape, like bacon would. We used a variety of plant-based hydrogels and combined them via dual 3D printing in a pattern resembling bacon structure.

Bacon undergoes various changes and chemical reactions when it is prepared in a frying pan. Due to its complex structure and composition (fat, connective tissues, muscle, blood), it curls and shrinks when direct heat is applied. Fat melts, muscle contracts and browns undergoing Maillard reaction, meaning that amino acids and sugars react to heat forming complex flavour and aromas. These aroma compounds create the distinguished smell of bacon. Some of them are produced or enhanced during the Maillard reactions, others appear due to the melting of fat and degradation of sugars. This behaviour illustrates several chemical and physical changes in bacon composition. The smell and visual change act as an indicator that it is cooked (browned and crisped).

I am aiming to create a plant-based alternative with a similar reaction to frying. Meaning I am pre-programming material's response to heat. The pre-programming of the shape change is achievable by choosing materials with a specific reaction to the environmental stimuli. It is important to know materials composition to control and manipulate shape transformation. Therefore I used a variety of hydrogels to create a product resembling bacon texture, structure and flavour.

This is an ongoing project. It is being conducted as a part of  Bio- and food systems research  project at South Denmark University

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