We've all heard of Peeps and what they do when in the microwave. Some of us have even tested out the poofing Peeps rumor for ourselves. I, for one, have not. Don't ask why, I don't know. Lately though, I've been curious. Just what makes those delicious little marshmallow chicks poof up and in a rare few cases EXPLODE?
The answer is actually much simpler than I thought, which leads to a nice, short, (not to mention sweet) and to-the-point article.
Many living organisms are made up mostly of water. While peeps are certainly not living organisms, they also consist of mostly water. The marshmallow based tissue of a peep is basically two things: water and sugar (well, mainly). When this mixture is properly put together (as in a Peep), it has many tiny air bubbles inside.
When the water in the mixture heats up, the air pockets heat up as well. Because of this, the entire Peep begins to swell.
But why do microwaves just so happen to work so well for blowing up our little yellow (or pink . . . or I think I've even seen blue ones) friends?
Doctor Volt, gave a fairly easy to understand explanation. She said, "Microwaves function as they do because the wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation they emit are wavelengths easily absorbed by water molecules. When the water molecules absorb the microwaves they gain energy, and as all the water molecules in an object gain energy the temperature of the object as a whole increases."
Microwaves work so well for inflating Peeps because the radiations they emit are very easily absorbed (or taken in) by water. Of course, when the water molecules absorb said radiations (actually called microwaves), gain energy and the whole temperature increases.
That last bit (you know, about the temperature increasing) leads us back to the water/sugar solution in Peeps, where I explained that the air pockets in Peeps fill and expand with heat.
So there you have it, in plain English. Now you will know why you can laugh yourself silly watching the little confections slowly grow, and grow, and grow.
Author's Note: Source: http://paupers.playwrighting.org/drvolt/index.php/2009/05/12/why-do-peeps-blow-up-in-the-microwave
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