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Popping Popcorn

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kateh516

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Popcorn is a tasty snack that has existed for many centuries. The other day I was wondering how exactly it worked and figured there must be some physics behind it. After experiencing pressure created by the temperatures it is put under, the hull of the kernel splits and turns inside out. The water vapor that is released makes the popping noise. If you have ever made popcorn in a pot you will have seen that popcorn "jumps" in the air. I figured that the release of the water vapor directs a force against the bottom of the pan. As we know, for every force there is an equal and opposite force. The force released from inside the kernel points down towards the pan and then a force is exerted back in the opposite direction on the kernel causing it to "jump" up into the air. What a great physics snack!

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