Utah State University researchers recently published a study exploring the mechanics behind a commonly used Asian cooking technique.
Former post-doctoral fellow Akihito Kiyama and recent Ph.D. graduate Rafsan Rabbi completed the research for the paper “Morphology of bubble dynamics and sound in heated oil” during their time at Utah State. Their research explores why the widely used method of using a wet chopstick to test the temperature of hot oil for cooking works.
Beyond better understanding how food cooks, Kiyama said this research could be a starting point to understanding more about improving kitchen air quality.
“After experiencing the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re particularly interested in the quality of the air inside as we spend more time in indoor settings,” Kiyama said.
Even before the paper’s publication in the special Kitchen Flows issue of the peer-reviewed journal of the Physics of Fluids, this research drew positive attention. In November the study was featured on National Public Radio, and is slated to be featured on the Scientific American podcast and Physics Today later this year.
Som Dutta, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Utah State, is a co-author. He said the paper’s connection to food is why he thinks people are so interested in the research.
“It’s a universal thing,” Dutta said. “There is fried food in every culture.”
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