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Chemistry Lab Report – Popping Corn Paper

On average, Americans consume sixteen billion quarts of popped popcorn annually. With that being said, it is one of the most wholesome and economical foods for sale. However, no one really considers the process that happens when you pop it. What makes popcorn pop? Well, to start, popcorn needs some moisture to pop. Each kernel contains a small drop of water stored in some soft starch. The water begins to expand as the kernel heats up. When the kernel hits 212 degrees, the waters turns into steam changing the starch inside to an extremely hot gelatinous goop. As the kernel continues to heat up, the pressure inside will reach 135 pounds per square inch before it finally bursts. Steam from inside the kernel releases at it explodes. The soft starch inside the popcorn becomes inflated and spills out. It cools down immediately to form into the odd shape we know and love. In Part 1 (Popcorn Composition) of this lab, we had to investigate whether a premium popcorn presented measurable desirable qualities compared to cheaper brands. To reiterate, each kernel contains a certain percentage of water that turns to steam when heated. When theirs enough pressure build up inside of the kernel, the hull bursts open to get a tasty snack. However, if this fails to happen, you get a hard, scorched, inedible, un-popped kernel.

In Part 2 (Separations) we were given a mixture of popcorn, sand, salt, and iron filings and asked to separate them. You may be thinking, how does one separate those small, gritty components? Well, the class had to do so and determine the percent composition of the mixture. Working with my group members, we had to develop and implement procedures for separating the mixture.

Experimental

Part One:

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Out of five popcorn brands, our group was given Orville Redenbacher’s popcorn. To be as accurate as possible with our results, we conducted three trials and then took an average for this experiment. The four components we had to run

experi…

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