Optimum Cooking of French-Fry-Shaped Potatoes: A Classroom Study of Heat and Mass Transfer


  • Jimmy L. Smart University of Kentucky


A laboratory exercise is provided for students to evaluate the cooking of potatoes, using principles of heat and mass transfer. Initially, potato samples are cooked in a conventional oven. Under variations of temperature and cooking time, students identify an "optimum potato." This optimum is defined in terms of surface hardness, mechanical strength, and taste test. Using other heating equipment (convection oven, microwave oven, and pressure cooker), students predict how to reproduce the "optimum potato."

Author Biography

Jimmy L. Smart, University of Kentucky

Jimmy Smart is Assistant Professor of Chemical and Materials Engineering at the University of Kentucky. He received his BS from Texas A&M University and his MS and PhD from The University of Texas. Austin. all in chemical engineering. He has over twenty years of industrial experience with companies such as IBM and Ashland Chemical. His research areas include applications of membranes to purify water supplies and treatment of hazardous waste.