Popcorn the Gas Catcher

How to absorb gas using popcorn

The se­cret abil­i­ties of pop­corn – re­vealed in our new video!

Safe­ty pre­cau­tions

Haz­ardous sub­stances were used in this ex­per­i­ment. Do not at­tempt! Un­der pro­fes­sion­al su­per­vi­sion only.

Reagents and equip­ment

  • pop­corn;
  • glass flask;
  • ni­tro­gen diox­ide.

Step-by-step in­struc­tions

Make some pop­corn. Trans­fer the pop­corn to a flask of ni­tro­gen diox­ide. Over time, the pop­corn will ab­sorb the gas in the flask com­plete­ly.

Process de­scrip­tion

Pop­corn is a corn ker­nel that ex­plodes when heat­ed. Its por­ous struc­ture means that it has a large sur­face for ad­sorp­tion – it can even be used as a gas ad­sor­ber. We used a flask of a col­or­ful gas – ni­tro­gen diox­ide – to demon­strate this point. Once in the flask, the pop­corn be­gins to sorb the gas in a process called ad­sorp­tion – the sorp­tion of a gas or liq­uid by a sol­id sur­face. Over time, the flask bright­ens, in­di­cat­ing that all the gas has been ad­sorbed. Pop­corn can also ad­sorb oth­er gas­es such as un­pleas­ant odors in the fridge.