Ask Dr. Universe: Why does cereal ‘pop’ when I add milk?

Dr-Universe-230PULLMAN, Wash. – My ears perked right up when I got your question. Like you, I’ve heard the sounds crispy rice cereal makes. But the truth is, I wasn’t entirely sure why it happens. There was only one way to find out.

I headed to one of our labs where food scientists are making cereal here at Washington State University. My friend Ryan Kowalski, a graduate student in food science, was there and offered to help out with your question.

“When you hear the popping,” he said, “you are hearing the sound of the cereal breaking.”

Since you are curious as a cat, you might be wondering how exactly cereal can break. I was wondering, too.

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