Find Out Why Your Food Smells Good As Explained by 3D Printing

Nov 16, 2015 10:40 AM EST | By Martha Ignacio

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There's no doubt that food is a heaven-sent present to all human beings. Not only do they taste good, but also probably one of the best parts about the sustenance is how it actually smells.

In fact, these two factors - smell and taste - of food are actually connected: the reason individuals are able to taste their food is because they are also able to smell it, in a way. Motherboard reports:

"[...] These two aspects of enjoying a meal are inextricably linked - the only reason you can taste your food is because while you are chewing bits and pieces of food are getting shuttled from the back of your mouth to your nasal cavity."

Apparently, this phenomenon has long baffled researchers - wondering why the airflow goes through the nasal cavity and into the lungs instead of out through the mouth.

Thanks to a team of researchers from Penn State, 3D printing has been able to explain this puzzling science. The Vice-issued channel further reports:

"Led by Rui Ni, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering, the team used CT scans of the human airway from the nostrils to the trachea to 3D print a model of the airway. The team then used the model to test airflow into and out of the airway. The results of their research were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences earlier this month."

"During quiet breathing, there is no valve that can control the direction of volatile transport," said Rui Ni. "However, something must be controlling the movement of these particles and keeping them out of the lungs."

The team discovered that what was controlling these movements was a "curtain of air that is formed" when breathing through the nose while chewing. The "food volatiles" are then hindered from escaping from the back of the mouth into the lungs.

The food volatiles are then pushed through into the nasal cavity when exhaling, where olfactory cells sense the volatiles, and allows individuals to smell the food.

As it turns out, the breathing rate can affect the movement of the food particles into the nasal cavity. Rui Ni suggested that in order to get the maximum effects, its best to slow down your breathing.

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