Popcorn: critical temperature, jump and sound

Abstract : Popcorn bursts open, jumps and emits a ‘pop’ sound in some hundredths of a second. The physical origin of these three observations remains unclear in the literature. We show that the critical temperature 180°C at which almost all of popcorn pops is consistent with an elementary pressure vessel scenario. We observe that popcorn jumps with a ‘leg’ of starch which is compressed on the ground. As a result, popcorn is midway between two categories of moving systems: explosive plants using fracture mechanisms and jumping animals using muscles. By synchronizing video recordings with acoustic recordings, we propose that the familiar ‘pop’ sound of the popcorn is caused by the release of water vapour.
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Submitted on : Monday, July 20, 2015 - 8:37:06 AM
Last modification on : Wednesday, March 27, 2019 - 4:39:25 PM

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Emmanuel Virot, Alexandre Ponomarenko. Popcorn: critical temperature, jump and sound. Journal of the Royal Society Interface, the Royal Society, 2015, 12 (104), pp.20141247. ⟨10.1098/rsif.2014.1247⟩. ⟨hal-01178414⟩

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