Nestlé scientists have used new technology to develop a theory that predicts the way soluble substances dissolve in water. The study could enable the creation of powdered food and beverage products that produce fewer lumps and a smoother texture when mixed with liquid. Working with the École Supérieure de Physique et de Chimie Industrielles (ESPCI) in France, Nestlé’s researchers observed at microscopic range the interaction between a drop of water and a thin layer of sugar. Two synchronised video cameras recorded the angle at which the water made contact with the sugar, and the speed at which it spread over its surface. The results show that the way a drop of water spreads over certain soluble substances depends on the amount of water absorbed and the softness of the substance. According to Nestlé, the finding are a major advance in understanding the complex mechanisms by which soluble powders dissolve in liquids. The study has been published in the journal Physical Review Letters.