Light backscatter of milk products for transition sensing using optical fibers

F. A. Payne, C. L. Crofcheck, S. E. Nokes, K. C. Kang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Transition sensors are needed, particularly in the dairy industry, for detecting transitions in pipe flow systems from product-to-water or product-to-product (such as from chocolate to vanilla ice cream mix). Transition information is used to automatically sequence valves to minimize product waste. Optical fibers were used to measure light backscatter between 400 and 950 nm as a function of milk concentration in water and milkfat concentration in milk. The normalized response (100% for product and 0% for water) as a function of product concentration in water was approximately logarithmic for skim milk between 400 and 900 nm and approximately linear for milk containing 1, 2, and 3.2% milkfat. The backscatter ratio (response relative to that for skim milk) as a function of milkfat in milk was wavelength dependent with longer wavelengths being more sensitive. The backscatter ratio at 900 nm for milk containing 3.2% homogenized fat was nearly four times that for skim milk. Backscatter ratio saturated (minimal response with increased milkfat) at 8% milkfat for homogenized cream and 16% milkfat for unhomogenized cream. Light backscatter for near infrared wavelengths around 900 nm was found ideally suited for transition sensing of dairy products and was found particularly sensitive to milkfat content. Light backscatter was found less suitable for discriminating between high milkfat products.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1771-1776
Number of pages6
JournalTransactions of the ASABE
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1999


  • Clean-in-place
  • Dairy
  • Fiber optic
  • Milk
  • Sensor
  • Transition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)


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