exploding soda

my little girls had a messy science experiment to do
so we took the opportunity of an uncharacteristically warm december day
to do the exploding soda experiment from
Yikes! Wow! Yuck! Fun Experiments for Your First Science Fair.

you take mentos and a tube (made of a sheet of rolled paper)…
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and put the mentos in a tube.
line the tube up with the opening of a bottle of soda.
(an index card between the tube of mentos and the soda allows quick deployment.)
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and you get a tall, sticky, wet explosion.
(this wasn’t even the highest one.)
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they tested cola, diet cola, lemon lime and diet lemon lime trying to determine which type of soda spewed the most amount of soda. i thought this was a chemistry experiment, but according to the mentos FAQ, it’s not:

The reaction occurs because of a simple rule of physics. Soda drinks contain a certain amount of CO2 (carbon dioxide) dissolved in water in the form of tiny bubbles. This combination of water and CO2 molecules is in a permanent unstable state. When Mentos fall into this liquid, this state is disturbed. The more Mentos that are dropped into the liquid the more this state is aggravated. The reason for this lies in the surface of a Mentos which looks smooth but is actually vary rough! Within the nooks and crannies of the microscopic rough surface, bubbles form, which are in turn transformed into foam, which can lead to very impressive foam fountains.

the mentos folks also gave a link to further explanation and lots of impressive exploding soda videos at eepybird.com. next time i’ll have to spring for the diet version of “the real thing”, coca cola; apparently that gives the highest fountains.

i learn all types of interesting (and sometimes useful) tidbits along side my girls all the time.

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