How Does Popcorn Pop?


| 2 Comments

Although it seems like a rather elementary concept, the science behind popcorn popping is actually quite interesting. What makes this delicious treat come out of small, hard kernels?

Each popcorn kernel is special, and contains oil, water, and starch. It is surrounded by a hard outer coating that keeps it all together. When heated, the water inside wants to expand into steam, but the coating prevents it. The hot oil and steam make the starch like a gel, making it softer and more moldable.

When the popcorn reaches a temperature of 180 degrees Celsius, the pressure inside is enough to burst through the popcorn hull. It actually turns the kernel inside-out. The pressure expands the proteins and starch inside the kernel into a foam like texture.

pop.jpg

Of all the types of corn grown all around the world, popcorn is the only one that can pop. This is because it's hull is the thinnest out of all types of corn.

Americans consume more than 16 billion quarts of popped popcorn per year. Get popping and enjoy this scientifically delicious treat!

 

http://chemistry.about.com/od/foodcookingchemistry/f/how-popcorn-pops.htm

http://www.popcorn.org/ForTeachers/TeachingGuide/WhatMakesPopcornPop/tabid/88/Default.aspx

http://www.popcorn.org/ForTeachers/TeachingGuide/FromSeedtoSnack/tabid/87/Default.aspx

2 Comments

I have always wondered this. Im a big fan of eating popcorn and I often find myself looking through the microwave glass to see the kernels pop. I looks so cool seeing them become 3 or 4 times bigger than their original size. It makes sense that heated pressure would cause the kernels to pop.I also never knew that only popcorn is the only one that can pop. I always thought that I could pop any type of corn.

Karissa,
This is actually an interesting topic that you bring up. I have always wondered how the kernel becomes puffy when it pops. It makes sense that you need to have pressure on the kernel though to allow it to burst. More on the facts of popcorn though have you ever wondered what the nutrient benefits are and is this why we consider it a starch? I checked out the website provided below for more information and you should too!
http://www.livestrong.com/article/255814-popcorn-nutrition-facts/

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