Thursday, April 21, 2005
Why Do Some Popcorn Kernels Not Pop?
It's long been known that popcorn kernels must have a precise moisture level in their starchy center about 15 percent to explode. But Purdue University researchers found the key to a kernel's explosive success lies in the composition of its hull.
It turns out there is an optimal hull structure that allows kernels to explode, and leaky hulls prevent the moisture pressure buildup needed for kernels to pop.
"They're sort of like little pressure vessels that explode when the pressure reaches a certain point," said Bruce Hamaker, a Purdue professor of food chemistry. "But if too much moisture escapes, it loses its ability to pop and just sits there."
There you have it.