What makes Popcorn Pop?

Credit: Joakim Wahlander

Simple Explanation

Popcorn can be considered as a special kind of corn, because popcorn is the only variety that takes this shape. Inside each kernel of popcorn is a tiny droplet of water which is surrounded by a hard nut shell also called a hull. As the popcorn is heated, the water turns into steam which builds pressure inside the kernel and the corn finally explodes and becomes 20-30 larger its original size.

Advanced Explanation

Popcorn kernels consists of oil, water and starch which is surrounded by a hard coating or nut. When popcorn is heated, via microwaves the water inside the kernel expands into steam, but it is trapped and it cannot escape through the seed coat also called popcorn hull.

       Popcorn formation in slow motion

Popcorn popping

The hot oil and steam gelatinize the starch inside the popcorn kernel, making it softer and more flexible. When the popcorn reaches a temperature of about 180 °C . The pressure inside the kernel is around 135 psi (pound per square inch) which is about enough pressure to blow the popcorn hull, turning the kernel inside-out. When the pressure inside is released expanding the proteins and starch inside the popcorn kernel transforms into a foam, which cools and takes the shape of the popcorn puff as we see it.

Kernel: A softer, usually edible part of a nut, seed or fruit contained within its shell.

Gelatinize: Make or become gelatinous like (Having a jelly like structure).

FACT: You know you could even make a popcorn pop by putting in front of cell phone and making the phone ring.

REASON: It generates the same microwaves the microwave oven does thus heating the corn.

Why do we get Deaf when yawning?

Ever wondered when you yawn your hearing diminishes for that period as if you've become temporarily deaf. One reason for this to happen is due to opening and closing of Eustachian tube which connects your ear to your throat. Another major reason for this to happen is because yawning activates a small muscle called the tensor tympani. The role for this muscle is to keep tension on the tympanic membrane to reduce loud noises so you don't blow out your ears. Activation of the muscle further reduces your hearing, leading to temporary deafness.

YawningCredit: Petr Kratochvil

Eustachian Tube: Its a narrow passage leading from the pharynx to the cavity of the middle ear, and permits the equalization of pressure on both sides of ear drum. 

Tympanic membrane: It is a membrane which forms part of the hearing organ, and vibrates in response to sound waves. In humans and other higher vertebrates it forms the eardrum, between outer and middle ear.

Things you could try

  • Here's something you could try out for fun. Try insulting a friend while he is yawning. An average time elapse for deafness is about 4-5 seconds. (not encouraging).
  • Note: Not everyone suffers from yawn deafness so be careful.
  • Same deafness occurs when blowing your nose.

Want to know

Why the sky and ocean are blue when the universe is dark


Why do people have different skin color?

White and Black People
Credit: From pixabay


Now if asked why someone living in Africa is more darker than you , then mostly people reply that it is due to their surrounding and genetics. True that but there is more to it.

We have seen people skin color ranging from Dark brown to pale yellow but what causes them?..

Actually there are many factors that effect the skin color, but the most important determining factor is a substance called melanin which is a biological pigment. Melanin is produced within the skin in cells called melanocytes.

Greater the amount of melanin present in body darker the color of skin. Exposure to excessive Ultraviolet radiations from the sun is harmful for our body so the main purpose of melanin is to protect us from these rays. People of those areas where the the exposure of UVR is more frequent tend to have darker color .This is due to the fact that these people through time have developed abundant amount of these colored pigments that fight off the UV rays.

One research said that human populations over the past 50,000 years have changed from dark-skinned to light-skinned and vice versa as they migrated to different UV zones

FACT: Tanning works in the same way, by giving prolong exposure to sun we increase the production of melanin resulting in a darker skin color.

FACT 2: People also have different Hair textures due to this. In this case two type of melanin play an important role, eumelanin and pheomelanin. Generally, if more eumelanin is present, the color of the hair is more darker, and vice versa.