It is hot outside. This fact is not surprising to many readers as the entire U.S. has been under a rising heat dome for the past week. On Friday, the Washington D.C. area hit a heat index of 115 degrees. However, just how hot is it? Is it so hot that, as the old adage goes, you could fry an egg on the sidewalk?
Many scientists say no. However, this didn’t stop the research team at Herald-Mail from trying to do just that. On Thursday afternoon, the team conducted a 35-minute test when the heat index exceeded 100 degrees in Hagerstown, Md. The team attempted to scramble a couple of eggs, and melt chocolate bars and crayons.
The Everyday Mysteries website of the Library of Congress states that an egg needs a temperature of 158 degrees to become firm.
"In order to cook, proteins in the egg must denature (modify), then coagulate, and that won't happen until the temperature rises enough to start and maintain the process," states the Library of Congress.
The team at Herald-Mail cracked the egg on a black-asphalt parking lot, thought to be more heat absorbent than a white sidewalk. According to the team, their thermometer topped out at 120 degrees – meaning the actual temperature of the pavement could have been higher.
The result was that the yoke of the two eggs appeared to stiffen after 30 minutes of “cooking.” However, the albumen (clear liquid) did not turn white at all.
Crayons, however, did liquidate as many would expect. Crayola.com says that the crayons soften at 105 degrees and has a melting point between 128 and 147 degrees, depending on the pigment.
The Herald-Mail research team placed Crayola crayons in a closed vehicle and on asphalt. Within half an hour, the dark color crayons of red and blue began to melt on the pavement. An off-brand orange crayon that was left in the vehicle turned to liquid within 30 minutes.
Not surprisingly, the Hershey chocolate candy bar test yielded quicker results. The Hershey bar, according to Herald-Mail, began to soften immediately and after being placed in the car and on the asphalt, became almost pure liquid.
During the experiment on Thursday the heat index rose to a high of 103 degrees.
With today’s heat index about 12 degrees higher in Washington D.C. …. maybe one really could fry an egg on the sidewalk.