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Location: San Diego, California, United States

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Popcorn - Perfect for Hot Air

Several years ago I compiled a list of why popcorn is so very well suited for hot air popping. I don't still have the list, but perhaps I can remember most of the items.

First off, the much lower density of the popped kernels means that they can be blown away by an airflow that doesn't affect the unpopped ones. So the ones that need the heat, stay in the heat.

Next, the low density of popped kernels means they have a lot of resistance to movement, so even though the pop gives them a large initial velocity, they don't fly all over everywhere.

And there is that pop, which imparts a lot of energy, mixing things up (in case there are hot and cold spots, a little mixing up can ensure that every kernel gets its fair turn in the heat).

And the popped kernels that haven't yet made it all the way out provide a nice buffer to absorb some of that energy, so that if an unpopped kernel gets much of the energy, its movement is dampened and its flight kept short.

And it's dense, so it falls back down to the hot surface.

That's all I can remember right now; I think there may have been more.


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