Eli5: How come some popcorn kernels refuse to pop?

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Eli5: How come some popcorn kernels refuse to pop?

In: Chemistry

Popcorn depends on a certain amount of moisture inside the kernel of corn to flash into steam with heat. That steam expansion is what makes popcorn…popcorn. No moisture equals no steam which equals no pop which equals no popcorn and an “old maid” instead.

There are two types of defective popcorn kernels. Some kernels get cracked during the shipping process and dry out, which means they don’t have enough water in them to pop.

Some other kernels have too tough of an outer shell which means that they resist popping even though there’s sufficient steam inside.