Popcorn is probably my favorite snack ever. But how does a small hard kernel turn into this fluffy, buttery treat? Here is what I learned:
Popcorn kernels have a hard shell on the outside, but on the inside there is moisture and starch. Thus when you put a bag of popcorn in the microwave, the kernels inside start to heat up and the moisture within the kernels turns into steam. The steam then tries to escape, but is blocked by the hard outer shell. The pressure that builds up from the steam trying to escape causes the kernel to explode and the delicious white fluffy part that you eat is formed during this reaction.
You can learn more about this from this video that I watched:
But when the kernel pops, it doesn't just go straight up into the air. It does a sort of somersault when the pressure from the water vapor is released. Scientists captured this amazing reaction of the kernels in slow motion and used physics to help them explain the causes for this type of motion. The initial parts that form act as legs that exert a net torque on the popcorn that causes it to rotate when it pops.
You can watch what they found in this video below:
Thanks for reading! Now I'm gonna go make some popcorn.