Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Mysteries of Everyday Science (Part 2)

Mystery #2: The hyper-cooling of nacho cheese
A fresh plate of cheese nachos (chips covered in queso for Texans) is a culinary joy. Yet, like a leaf in a Robert Frost poem, the joy is short-lived.

Piping hot nacho cheese cools at hyperspeed to room temperature or colder. The result is a lumpy, soggy, curdled mess. And, it's ice cold.

The laws of thermodynamics generally state that anything warm will give it's heat to the surrounding area until an equilibrium is reached. A plate of hot food will steam, sizzle, and give it's warmth to the plate and surrounding air until it reaches room temperature. That's pretty straightforward. Conversely, a cool object will absorb surrounding heat.

The Mystery:
Yet, it's hard to understand why nacho cheese cools so quickly. Where does the heat go so rapidly? Further investigation by science is warranted here. Does nacho cheese open a microscopic wormhole to another freezing dimension that leeches the heat away? Is nacho cheese a crude lifeform that consumes heat as life force?

Potential Applications:
1. Could nacho cheese be used to help absorb the massive temperatures of a space shuttle re-entry into atmosphere?

2. Nacho suits for firemen.

3. Guests on the O'Reilly show could slather on some nacho cheese to safely absorb his fiery vitriol

4.Dell just announced a liquid-cooled pc system. Why not computer cooled by nacho cheese?

5. Automobiles use toxic antifreeze and water coolant. We could replace this with savory, non-toxic nacho cheese. If you get stranded in a snowy wildernesss, radiator fondue could keep you nourished.

1 comment:

Sarah said...

The implications in the fight against global warming could be tremendous!