Cooking (and Shrinking) the Modern Combat Ration

But it can still get smaller. Senior food engineer Ann Barrett, PhD., showed me a technique called sonic agglomeration. After a food has been dried in the VMD, it’s placed in an “ultrasonic welder,” where it is pressed into a small mold that has a diameter a little bit larger than a golf ball. Through a combination of pressure and sonic vibration, the food particles’ edges begin to weld, causing all of the various particles of whatever ingredients were put in the mold to fuse together.

You’re left with a tiny, dense disc of food that fits easily in the palm of your hand, but also contains hundreds of calories. A soldier can now eat it on the go or rehydrate it to make something like a paste or soup.

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