Literature Review of Popcorn Yield Experiments Abstract

literature review of experiments on popcorn yield 1

LiteratureReview of Popcorn Yield Experiments


In a world characterized by high costsof raw materials and energy, researchers have devised strategies tomitigate and eliminate factors that contribute to low yields andlosses of energy. In the first place, the profit motive is onlyrealizable if products are of high quality and produced at the lowestcost. This paper reviews related empirical literature on the yield ofpopcorn under different conditions. Identically, popcorn yield isinfluenced by factors including but not limited to the brand ofpopcorn, the size of batch and popcorn to oil ratio. As a matter offact, the factors mentioned earlier are the primary determinants ofthe percentage yield of the product. With this intention, this reportdiscusses the statement of the problem, selection of responsevariables, choice of factors, levels, ranges and experimental design.In the same fashion, the report analyzes and interprets observabletrends in reviewed literature. Given the importance of popcorn amongkids and adults and the huge market for the product, determination offactors that influence popcorn yield is vital.

Literature Review of Popcorn Yield Experiments

Production of Popcorn

In a typical package of popcorn, it is not rare to find raw cornstacked in between the amorphous pieces of popped kernels. Dependingon the type of machine used and the brand of maize, the percentage ofpopcorn yield differs. Not to mention, popcorn is a favorite subtletyfor most adults because it is lower in fat and easy to prepare.Correspondingly, this report employs a qualitative research approachwhich is the best suited for review and analysis of secondary data.The thesis is that yield of corn is primarily dependent on popcorn tooil ratio in corn kernels, popcorn brand and size of the batch.

Statement of the Problem

Efficiency is akey cost-cutting strategy especially in the large-scale production ofpopcorn. Likewise, the brand of corn determines the percentage ofkernels that will pop up under optimum manufacturing conditions. As amatter of fact, large manufacturers suffer instead of enjoyingeconomies of scale since a sizeable percentage of corn kernels do notpop. Similarly, at home and school, the percentage of seeds thatyield is determined primarily by the brand of corn and type ofequipment used. Corn kernels pop up when exposed to heat because thewater inside the grains turns to steam and explodes the seeds to formpopcorn[ CITATION RDe12 l 1033 ]. Other possible reasons for failureto pop up are leaky outer shells that allow steam to escape andcontent of moisture in the grains. To put it differently, optimizingthe yields of popcorn is primarily dependent on the brand of cornused.

Selection of the Response Variables

Empirical resultsdesignate batch size, popcorn to oil ratio and brand of popcorn asthe primary agents that determine the yield of corn. If the threeelements are optimized, chances that the percentage conversionincreases are higher than having them in their natural form. Thedependent variable is the yield of popcorn or the percentage of corngrains that pop up. At the same time batch size, popcorn brand andpopcorn to oil ratio are the independent variables[ CITATION Bre102 l 1033 ].In this case, popcorn brand is either ordinary or gourmet, the batchsize is one-third and two-thirds of a cup respectively while popcornto oil ratio is either low or high. The gauge has been enhanced toeliminate errors through the use of a large pan spread in a microwaveoven for increased surface of contact[CITATION LJe03 l 1033 ].

Choice of factor, levels, and ranges

As in any otherresearch endeavor, there are potential design factors and nuisanceelements in this study. The design factors are the independent anddependent variables that have been isolated for study in thisexperiment. The nuisance factor in this study is the batch size ofcorn grains used in empirical research. For one thing, the number ofindividual corn kernels may significantly differ when using markedcontainers. For instance, the one-third cup level may contain higheror lower numbers of individual corn seeds which introduce bias. Afteridentification of design factors, it is critical to determine therange over which the factors will be varied and the distinct levelsat which runs are made. With attention to batch size, brand ofpopcorn and popcorn to oil ratio, runs will be done once the averagetime for popcorn to cook has elapsed.

Choice of experimental design

The choice ofmodel is widely dependent on some replicates of the design, presenceof run orders and decisions on blocking or randomization of results.Empirical results are to be fed to Minitab software for statisticalanalysis and validation. Once factors such as range and level andvariables are fed into the software, the latter validates the dataand provides ranges of confidence for which the results can bejustified as truthful.

LiteratureReview of Popcorn Related Literature

According toWilson and Jobs (2010), popcorn to oil ratio determines thepercentage of corn grains that pop up into the amorphous and ediblecorn. The scientific principle of surface area to volume ratioapplies in this case. In other words, where a substantial amount ofcorn oil is used to heat popcorns, a larger surface area of corn isexposed to heat which increases the efficiency of the heating systemsand the yield.

Collin andWhitaker (2011) assert that the brand of popcorn used determines thepercentage of popcorn that pops up. Hybrids of popcorn have beendeveloped in the recent past but are more expensive than the genericbrand. Hybrid brands such as Gourmet popcorn are rather expensive,but their yield is unparalleled. Ordinary corn kernels have numerousdeformities that are critical in determining the yield. As anillustration, common species of popcorn have leaky outer shells thatallow steam to escape instead of accumulating. In the event thatsteam escapes, corn kernels cannot burst as pressure balance on theinner and outer surfaces is maintained.

James and Nielsen(2007) suggested that batch size of popcorn determines the percentageyield. In their illustrations, they explained that larger batches ofpopcorn reduce the surface area of contact between the popcorn andheating medium. With that in mind, popcorns that pop carries alongsome of the raw grains with them as they move up. Therefore, theyrecommended that smaller batches should be used, and the surface areaof the heating medium should be increased for maximum yield.

According toTimothy and Gerald (2009), the brand of popcorn determines the amountof moisture present in grains to provide sufficient pressure tosustain an explosion. Some brands have less moisture which may not besufficient enough to break the protective outer shell of popcorn.However, hybrid brands have been modified and humidity contentretained has increased. As such, hybrid brands of corn are the mostproductive raw materials and lead to higher yields when compared withordinary popcorn.

Denise and Miguel(2012) proposed that the age of popcorn and storage conditionsdetermine the probability of popping up and increased yield. Thus,where corn grain are considerably stored for a long time, themoisture content naturally reduces, especially under hot conditions.Even though such seeds may pop with remarkable yields, poor storageand age of popcorn could reduce the yield in large scale productionof popcorn.

According toLouisa and Jean-Pierre (2207), the type of machinery involved in themanufacture of popcorn determines the amount of produce. Althoughthis may be true, the impacts are not as significant as the effectsof the three primary determinants. Microwave, air popper, andstovetop are the conventional methods of heating corn grains. Theyrecommend the microwave because heat is spread uniformly andmicrowave radiation heats moisture inside grains with much ease.

Peter and Arthur(2013) offered that storage conditions for corn seeds determine theirmoisture content and hence the possibility for popping up. Corn seedsare either stored in airtight containers or open air. In sealedconditions, corn grains do not interact with elements of theatmosphere which may weaken the protective outer shell. In open air,corn kernels interact with moisture and insects which attack anddestroy the outer shell leading to leakages.

Lewis and Clarence(2012) advocate for the time duration for popping as crucial indetermining the yield and hence the percentage conversion.Conventional time scales may not be sufficient to allow all grains topop up. What is more, they recommend shaking of machines to allow theheavier and non-popped corn to separate from popped conned and tosink to the bottom for heating.

McCarthy andRobinson (2008) promote the purchase of hybrid brands because kernelshave been strengthened through research. Thus, the possibility forpopping is increased, and higher yields are achieved.

According to Elian(2010), the number of kernels used determines the yield irrespectiveof the method use. For instance, a bag of corn fed into a stovetop ora microwave oven will likely produce lower yields as corn grains tendto shield each other. As such, the amount of heat that reaches thecorn grains is not sufficient to sustain popping up of all grains.


As can be seenfrom the narration, the kernel brand and batch size have beenisolated as the main determinants of the percentage yield. Most ofthe researchers recommend lower batch sizes and use of hybrid grainsfor improved yield. The trend observed in the reviews suggests thatamount of return is heavily dependent on batch size and productbrand[ CITATION SJa09 l 1033 ].


Popcorn is afavorite snack for kids and adults alike, especially in the UnitedStates. Additional of salt and butter during preparation improves theflavor and scent of popcorn to the delight of popcorn enthusiasts.Popcorn to oil ratio is insignificant where microwave ovens are used.However, the brand of popcorn and batch size is significantlyinfluential in determining the amount of yield. The literaturereviewed suggests that hybrid brand of popcorn is modified toeliminate natural inconsistencies that hamper fruitful production.


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Collin, S., &amp Jobs, P. (2008). Surface area to volume ratio in ensuring the pop. Southampton, UK: Lower District Publishers. Retrieved February 1, 2015

Denise, R., &amp Miguel, G. (2012). Mass production of popcorn: hindrances and possible corrections. Indianapolis, Indiana: Leslie Publishing. Retrieved January 31, 2016

James, S., &amp Nielsen, A. (2009). The physics of popping corn kernels. San Francisco, California: California State University Press. Retrieved January 31, 2016

Jeong-Yeon, L., Podsakoff, M., &amp McKenzie, B. (2007). Common method biases in research: a critical review of the literature and recommended remedies. Journal of Applied Psychology, 88(5), 879-903. Retrieved January 10, 2015

Lewis, G., &amp Clarence, P. (2012). Why popcorn matters in the United States. Boston, Massachusetts. Retrieved January 31, 2016

McCarthy, F., &amp Robinson, L. (2009). Add few cents for extra pops. San Francisco, California: California Institute of Technology Press. Retrieved January 31, 2016

Saunders, M., Lewis, P., &amp Thornhill, A. (2012). Research methods for business students. . Essex: NJ, USA: Prentice Hall.

Timothy, J., &amp Levy, Y. (2008). The framework of Problem-Based Research: A Guide for novice researchers on the development of a research-worthy problem. The International Journal of an Emerging Transdiscipline, 11, 1-17. Retrieved February 9, 2015

Timothy, J., &amp S.Gerald. (2009). On the dynamics that influence the yield of popcorn. New York City, New York: New York University at Stern Press. Retrieved January 31, 2016

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