Key concepts Chemistry Physics Materials science Carbonation Physical reactions Explosions Introduction Have you ever seen the Diet Coke and Mentos experiment that is all over the Internet and wondered what makes the reaction work? You might think that there is some ingredient in a Mentos candy that causes a chemical reaction with the soda pop, like the way baking soda reacts with vinegar. But the amazing eruption that takes place when Mentos are dropped into Diet Coke or other brands of diet soda pop is not a chemical reaction at all! Instead it is a physical reaction. That means that all of the pieces of the reaction are there, but that they are simply rearranged. It also means changing some factors may cause a larger or smaller physical reaction to take place. Background A carbonated beverage is packed full of dissolved carbon dioxide gas, which forms bonds with water. While the soda is in the bottle, the gas is kept in solution by the bottle’s pressurized conditions. When you pour some soda into a glass, some gas escapes and forms foam, but most stays trapped by the surface tension of the water. But all those gas bubbles want to escape, making it no wonder that soda makes you burp!
The Tartan. The results showed that Diet Coke created the most spectacular explosions with either fruit or mint Mentos, the fountains travelling a horizontal distance of up to 7 metres. Gases are less soluble in liquids with a higher temperature, so the warmer your soda is, the bigger your Mentos-induced geyser will be. Fun with Nucleation You can learn more about nucleation sites in action if you coat the inside of a small glass with vegetable oil. Views Read Edit View history. Already a subscriber? Help Learn to edit Community portal Recent changes Upload file. How much cola is left in the bottle? Remove the pack of Mentos from the tube. What happens? It’s All About Texture Coffey and company discovered that the ingredients in the Mentos and Diet Coke and, more importantly, the structure of the Mentos, allow carbon dioxide bubbles to form extremely rapidly.
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Very slowly and carefully, open a new bottle of colorless soda. Tilt the cup and slowly pour the soda down the inside of the cup to make as few bubbles as possible. Take the straw out of the soda and put a pipe cleaner in. Look from the side to see if bubbles also form on the pipe cleaner. Now take the pipe cleaner out and place a Mento in the soda. Watch the Mento from the side to see what happens. The bubbles are made of a gas called carbon dioxide.