Key concepts Chemistry Reactions Supersaturation Nucleation. The resulting eruption can be powerful enough to be dangerous, and is the source of many online videos! Although many people are familiar with this reaction, few of them understand the science behind why it takes place. Mentos plus soda is not actually a chemical reaction but rather a physical one called nucleation. In this activity we will explore nucleation in soda at a smaller scale by adding some unusual ingredients to our soda! Background Carbonated drinks, such as soda, are in a state of supersaturation, meaning soda is completely saturated with carbon dioxide CO2. If you heat the solution of sugar and water, however, the water will be able to accept more of the sugar than it could when the water was cool or at room temperature. Once the heated water has cooled to room temperature it will be supersaturated with sugar—more sugar will have been dissolved in the water than would normally be possible at room temperature.
Move on to the next cup of soda. Procedure Slowly add one tablespoon of sugar to the first cup. So what is nucleation about and why do Mentos release all this pressure so spectacularly?
How Does This Work? That creates so much pressure that the soda goes flying. We then built nozzles that make the opening smaller and that makes the geysers go even higher. So what is nucleation about and why do Mentos release all this pressure so spectacularly? Read on Their explanation is this process called nucleation. All the carbon dioxide in the soda — all that fizz — is squeezed into the liquid and looking for a way out. Those tiny bumps are called nucleation sites: places the gas can grab onto and start forming bubbles. Nucleation sites can be scratches on a glass, the ridges of your finger, or even specks of dust — anywhere that there is a high surface area in a very small volume. The surface of a Mentos is sprayed with over 40 microscopic layers of liquid sugar.
You may have heard the widely circulated rumor that ordering a certain drink while you’re in flight can seriously delay beverage service for everyone else on board. Sound familiar yet? Yes, the rumor implicates Diet Coke — and while that popular theory may be a little dramatic, it turns out there is indeed some science-based truth to the fact that diet sodas take longer to pour at altitude. At increased altitudes a higher differential between the soda and the air expedites this process meaning the soda both bubbles more and goes flat faster. But what makes Diet Coke different from, say, regular Coke or a seltzer, ginger ale, or other carbonated beverage? Sugar both increases viscosity and surface tension, allowing regular Coke to form larger bubbles that are weaker and pop faster. Diet Coke, on the other hand, forms smaller, stronger bubbles that pop much slower. In the end, the total difference in serving time for each cup could be drawn out by a few seconds. If dozens of people on board are ordering Diet Coke, you could be adding a few minutes to the total drink-service time, and while that’s really not the end of the world, it could be a game changer on a very short flight. And you can imagine that flight attendants, in an age of flight that prizes efficiency over anything else, don’t really love it.
In case there were not enough products you might have anxiety over running out of, you can add carbonated drinks to that list, too. Apparently, the novel coronavirus pandemic has caused a dip in demand for ethanol. A byproduct of ethanol is carbon dioxide, which is the naturally-occurring chemical compound that makes our favorite drinks like Diet Coke, beer, and sparkling water bubbly via Fox News. Americans are traveling less these days, which means there has been a decline in gasoline purchases, which is why the demand for ethanol has slumped.