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Q:

How does heat affect a cornstarch and water paste?

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At room temperature, a suspension of cornstarch (cornflour) granules in water (sometimes called Oobleck) can exhibit strange behavior, as described in a SEED science center experiment and related Digging Deeper notes. When heated, the mixture undergoes an irreversible process called gelatinization in which the starch granules absorb water and swell. Parts of the starch molecules react with the water molecules, attracting and holding them. Other parts of the starch molecules can form a 3-D network which traps additional water. Do you mean dry cornstarch or the mixture of cornstarch and water as described in the SEED Science Center at http://www.slb.com/seed/en/lab/cornstarch/index.htm? For the mixture you can try this experiment: Make a mixture of cornstarch and water an examine it as described in the experiment at the URL above. Now put it in a pot and heat it over a low flame while stirring it (Do this ONLY with adult supervision). See if the appearance, behavior or feel of the ... more
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