The Secret Acrobatics of Popcorn

Popcorn kernels don’t just explode, they perform gymnastics like moves while they do it.

Believe it or not, the science behind popcorn’s popping may be akin to an Olympic event:

Researchers have found that popcorn kernels accomplish their acrobatic feats like somersaulting gymnasts who push off with their legs before launching themselves into a spin.

The study, which relied on high-speed video, also suggests that the characteristic “pop” sound of popcorn does not come from the foamy interior bursting through the kernel’s exterior, as some people might think.

Instead, water vapor released from the kernel creates tiny resonant cavities inside the kernel, sending out a “pop.”

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