Physics Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for active researchers, academics and students of physics. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I just wonder if my porridge would be ready any faster if I take the lid off my tupperware container.

share|cite|improve this question

closed as unclear what you're asking by Art Brown, Bernhard, Kyle Kanos, ACuriousMind, Brandon Enright Aug 29 '14 at 16:12

Please clarify your specific problem or add additional details to highlight exactly what you need. As it's currently written, it’s hard to tell exactly what you're asking. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

What exactly do you mean by "vacuum"? Vacuum by physical definition is a completely emptiness of anything/gases - nothing a tupperware-container could withstand any second, the air pressure around it would crush it immediately. So please clarify your question, otherwise I'm afraid it will get downvoted or closed as non-constructive... – Benedikt Aug 29 '14 at 7:49
Apologies, I accept that I misused vacuum. Too late to change it now; the accepted answer covers the mistake sufficiently. I hope you agree. – HellishHeat Aug 29 '14 at 12:37
up vote 7 down vote accepted

If you put cooked porridge in a vacuum it will dry out i.e. lose all it's water. In fact this process is the basis of freeze-drying.

But what you're describing isn't putting the porridge in a vacuum. If you put a hot water/porridge oats mixture in a sealed box then exclude the air you actually have the water/porridge mixture in equilbrium with water vapour. The pressure of the water vapour will be the vapour pressure of water at whatever the temperature of the porridge is.

In any case, the absorption of water by the porridge oats is limited by the diffusion of liquid water into the starch grains in the porridge, and the vapour plays no part in this. So whether the box is sealed or not will have little effect on the cooking time. However with an unsealed box you may need to add extra water to make for the water lost by evaporation.

share|cite|improve this answer
Thanks, apologies all for my loose and incorrect usage of "vacuum". I am better for knowing this. – HellishHeat Aug 29 '14 at 12:34

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.