Tribology…Who Knew?

Despite its importance, the texture or mouthfeel of wine is one of the least studied aspects of sensory perception. At least until now. As reported in Wines & Vines, researchers at U.C. Davis are currently working to develop what they call a “tribology” method to analyze the physical aspect of red wine perception. In particular, Dr. Tonya Kuhl and Dr. Aude Watrelot hope to understand the physical interaction between tannin (astringency) and saliva (lubrication). The word tribology comes from the Greek word for “rubbing.” In engineering and biomedical research, tribology is the science that deals with the design, friction, wear, and lubrication of interacting surfaces in relative motion (as in bearings or gears or, for that matter, your knee joints).

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