Shear Test Methods
Shear testing is a very popular and valuable test method applicable to food texture analysis. This method applies slicing or "shearing" to the product, which replicates the action of the front incisors when food is introduced into the mouth. This test procedure also measures the sample's shear resistance force when being cut by a knife, during preparation and serving - a good indication of tenderness and toughness.
Although the description of "shear testing" is commonly given to any test that uses a cutting action to apply a stress to a food sample, the true engineering definition of shear, does not employ a blade but refers to a material being stressed from two opposite directions and then shearing within its own structure.
There are many different variations of basic shear testing apparatus: blades in V, notched, rounded or straight edges. The Warner-Bratzler meat shear design is an industry standard configuration for meat tenderness. A wire shear test cell is used for ISO standard testing of butter, but like all accessories, can be correlated to the sensory texture of many product types.