Science Experiments Popcorn

science experiments popcorn
Question: How to test popcorn in a science experiment??

Why does popcorn pop? The answer is, there is water in the kernel that turns to steam and the kernel pops, but how do i test this??
Is there any way??

Answer: General ideas: If you think that water is the only reason, then you need to dry-out (low,slow heat) some kernels and then see if they pop. I would think that drying out the kernels is a must for your experimental design. To test,consider how you show that the kernel is dry. For example, you might take 100 kernels (you might need more than this) of popcorn and start drying them in some measured way. After a certain amount of time, remove a portion of the kernels from the dryer and see if they pop. Keep removing the kernels until you do not get any of them to pop. You have to keep removing the kernels until you get 100% no popping. Then you can say that after so many minutes, hours, days or weeks, in a dryer set at a certain temperature, 100% of the popcorn stopped popping. Therefore, based on this experimental design, you can say so much heat for so long a time inhibits popping.

Now, some considerations: to say that heat and mositure is a factor, you should have equipment that can be used without interruption. If your experiment gets interrupted, then you have some explainin’ to do! You need to have sufficient kernels for the whole time you are removing the kernels. You need to maintain a consistent technique to remove kernels at specifically designed times. In other words, if you are not careful, you could miss the real time it takes to dry-out kernels by removing them at odd times. If you are consistent in your techniques of removal, you should make sure the temperature in the dryer does not fluctuation when you remove the kernels each, you should remove the kernels in the same manner each time, and you should have enough kernels to do the whole experiment without having to add any new kernels (that would not be good planning!).

Regardless of all this, your experiment could be enhanced by measuring the amount of moisture released during the drying period so that you are sure that there was moisture available inside your kernels (yikes! that will be a bit more complicated, but significantly contribute to your original hypothese that moisture is the main thing!!! Cool! ONLY after documenting that there is moisture coming from the kernels, can you say that moisture might be superheated to cause the popping phenomenon. Determining that moisture is coming out of the kernels might be challenging!

Also, your hypothesis should be specific to what variables you are going to test: heat only, heat and moisture, moisture only? Be specific!. You will probably find some critics of your experiment that will say, Hey! It isn’t the moisture you are removing, it is the heat that weakens the outer shell or seed coat that actually prevents the “pop” and therefore the “pop corn” will just ooze out. Do all kernels of corn pop? Do they all have this same type of shell or seed coat? Make some careful dissections, take some picutres and use that for your science project to show the kernels’ structures.

Now, the last thing is that good luck! Your experimental design might be really the strong point of this kind of experiment, and may show your insight and scientific thinking, rather than open a new theory of why pop corn pops. Check with your teacher if it is for a project to see if it will complement and not disrespect you.

Science Experiment – Cell Phones Popping Popcorn


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