Phenomena

Listening to Tempura

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Most cooks know that their frying oil isn’t hot enough if dropping the food in doesn’t create a furious burst of bubbles. But the canniest cooks know they can check the temperature just by listening to the sound made when inserting a utensil, like a wooden chopstick. When oil nears the right temperature, a cloud of bubbles forms around the utensil, leading to a flurry of sound as those bubbles break.

In this video, researchers explore the sound and bubble dynamics together as a function of temperature. They show how the final sound carries the signature of the its bursting bubble, too. So next time you’re getting ready to fry and you can’t find your thermometer, don’t panic. Just listen! (Image and video credit: A. Kiyama et al.)

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