Let’s Drop A Red Hot Metal Ball Into Popcorn

It’s been a while since we checked in on the burgeoning YouTube genre of “dropping a superheated metal ball on things to see what happened,” and that time off has resulted in some pretty cool videos being uploaded. Case in point: this clip from Life Hacks & Experiments where they deposit the radiant orb in a flask of unpopped popcorn kernels to see how well it works.

The scientific principle behind popcorn is that the heat of the oil (or the microwave, if you roll that way) causes the water trapped in the kernel to boil into steam, increasing the pressure rapidly and breaking the kernel coating to let the white germ rapidly explode outwards. That’s what gives it the unique crunchy texture that moviegoers have loved for generations.

In the experiment, they use a bit of oil in the jar as a medium – otherwise the ball would just burn the kernels it came in contact with to an inedible crisp. But when the ball is dropped in, that oil immediately ignites in a huge conflagration. After the videomaker shuts the oxygen off with a gloved hand, the ball starts heating the oil normally and popping the corn in a visually unpleasant manner.

The end result is a nasty charred mess that doesn’t look too appetizing, but nobody ever said science had to taste good.