Reinventing salt  APR 27 2010

Frito-Lay wants to change the shape of the salt they put on their potato chips to increase the surface area exposed to taste buds and therefore decrease the amount of salt needed on each chip.

"Early on in our research, it became apparent that the majority of salt on a snack doesn't even have time to dissolve in your saliva because you swallow it so rapidly," explained Mehmood Khan, senior vice president and chief scientific officer and a former Mayo Clinic endocrinologist. A Wall Street Journal story later reported only about 20 percent of the salt on a chip dissolves on the tongue, and the remaining 80 percent is swallowed without contributing to taste.

I'm confused as to why "an understanding of crystal chemistry" is necessary. Why couldn't they just crush/grind the salt into a fine powder instead? Are the cubic crystals still too big even when crushed?

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