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An Experimental Study on Human Milk Viscosity

[+] Author Affiliations
Diana Alatalo, Fatemeh Hassanipour

University of Texas at Dallas, Dallas, TX

Paper No. IMECE2016-68761, pp. V007T09A094; 9 pages
doi:10.1115/IMECE2016-68761
From:
  • ASME 2016 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Volume 7: Fluids Engineering
  • Phoenix, Arizona, USA, November 11–17, 2016
  • Conference Sponsors: ASME
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-5061-9
  • Copyright © 2016 by ASME

abstract

Human milk is a complex fluid suspension of many ingredients — such as fats, proteins, lactose, and minerals — that differs greatly from bovine and other mammalian milks. The rheological properties of human milk impact its flow inside the breast and when fed through artificial feeding methods. Past research concerning the flow characteristics of human milk is extremely limited and does not account for milks non-Newtonian behavior. In order to produce an accurate model of milk flow in the human breast, experimental work was performed on human milk donated by eight mothers at different stages of lactogenesis II.

The results of this small study reveal the complexity of human milk flow characteristics and the challenges involved with modeling its flow, especially at low shear rates. Within the human breast, shear rates vary greatly from as low as 12 s−1 to as high as 2.5 × 1016 s−1 depending on the ductal system geometry and flow rate. For researchers involved in experimentation, the environmental conditions, handling methods, and age of milk are extremely important and must be reported if the data is to be of any value. Further experimentation is required to fully understand the mechanisms behind the time-dependence behavior of human milk.

Copyright © 2016 by ASME

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