Do you want to know the Science Behind Popping of Popcorn? It’s really fascinating, Read this post to find the science behind it
How does it pop, and why does it transform from a crunchy kernel to fluffy white popcorn?
It’s not only an excellent snack, but it’s also intriguing to watch as it cooks.
Why does it behave in this manner? What causes the tiny popcorn kernel to leap into the air and transform its appearance? Does every corn pop, and where does the distinctive popping sound come from? This simple snack raises a lot of interesting questions.
But first, What are popcorn kernels?
A popcorn kernel is a corn kernel, but it’s a different species from the corn we eat at the barbeque, in street food shops, or at home. A popcorn kernel’s shell, or hull, is thicker, making it better at trapping steam.
Now you may ask, “How does a popcorn kernel pop while steam is trapped inside it?”
When heat is applied to each of these kernels, water transforms into steam, which fills the inside of the kernel as if it were a tea kettle, except there’s nowhere for the steam to go. Because of the tough hull of the kernel
Your ears play an important part while popping corn, whether it’s in the microwave or on the burner. At first, the kernels are silent, and then you start hearing popping sounds. The frequency of popping will rapidly increase until it reaches its peak, following which it will gradually decrease. Even though we can all tell when the popcorn pops, it took experts a long time to figure out why. It turns out that the science behind why popcorn pops is quite fascinating.
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Now let’s dive deeper into some Background of our poppy popcorns!
There are different types of corn, such as sweet corn, field corn, and popcorn.
Popcorn is a type of maize that is unique, and this is the only corn that pops. Popcorn’s success is due to its surprising kernel structure.
Not only is there a seed for a new corn plant inside the kernel, but there is also water and soft starch granules that serve as a food supply for the seed during germ sprouting.
Even though popcorn has been around for thousands of years, scientists have just recently cracked the mystery of how it bursts and the sound it produces.
The water locked inside the kernel of popcorn causes it to pop. The kernel is made up of a pericarp which is very hard.
This water will turn into steam if the kernel is cooked to a sufficiently high temperature. The steam has nowhere to go because of the hard, mainly non-porous shell, resulting in a buildup of pressure inside the kernel.
The kernel husk bursts, and the popcorn is flipped inside out after the pressure is high enough and the temperature hits around 180 degrees Celsius.
Popcorn’s starch transforms into a gel-like material. Because the steam is confined, it puts pressure on the shells. When the shells could no longer withstand the pressure, they burst open, releasing the steam and gel.
When the gel comes in contact with air, it rapidly solidifies, forming fluffy popcorn.
The characteristic popping sound is caused by vapor released after the kernel has cracked.
Now let’s explore the Corn kernel’s composition.
Let’s take a closer look at a corn kernel. Corn is composed of several layers.
- The pericarp, or outer hull, of corn, is the outermost layer.
- The endosperm, which contains a lot of starch, and the germ are both contained within that hull. If planted, the germ would become the start of a new plant.
Moisture is found in both the endosperm and the germ. The moisture content of a good popcorn corn kernel is around 14% throughout. Popcorn corn is the only type of corn that can be used to make popcorn.
Last but not least, Factors that influence the ‘pop’ of popcorn
It’s not all of the corn that pops, and that’s not our fault. Some popcorns do have flaws that cause them to not pop. The kernels that have leaked water or have poor shell quality never pop. Researchers looked into the best qualities of a maize kernel for popping and discovered a few key factors that actually make the popcorn POP!
- Water content
- Hull strength
- Starch type
Popcorn can be made in a pot on the stovetop, in the microwave, in a special popcorn popping machine, or over an open fire, as it was likely done centuries ago. Whatever method you use, the mechanics are the same: heat the popcorn until it is hot enough to pop.
Next time you’re about to make some yummy popcorn, remember how a single droplet of water can turn into steam and thus influence the kernels to pop and become a tasty popcorn treat for you and me.
Who knew that science could be quite delicious sometimes? Hope now you know the Science Behind Popping of Popcorn, feel free to share this article with your buddies