A VERIFY viewer asked if dropping a roll of Mentos into a soda can cause an explosion, like when the candy is mixed with diet coke. So we tested it ourselves.
The hands-on experiment involves throwing several Mentos Chewy Mints into a bottle of Diet Coke, which can cause a jet of Diet Coke to shoot many feet into the air in a matter of seconds.
In an email, VERIFY viewer James asked if putting Mentos in a soda could also cause an explosion.
James, the VERIFY team loved this question and loves experimenting. So we decided not only to get the answer from sources, but also to test it ourselves. Read on to see what happened.
Can it explode if you put Mentos in lemonade?
Yes, if you put Mentos in any soda it can explode, but some sodas are more explosive than others depending on the ingredients.
WHAT WE FOUND
VERIFY host Ariane Datil and producer/editor Trevin Smith put this science experiment to the test – one lemonade and one explosion at a time.
In a large backyard with plenty of space, Ariane had a roll of Mentos Chewy Mints in two-liter bottles containing Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, Pepsi, Diet Coke, Dr. Pepper, Sprite, Mountain Dew, Ginger Ale and Canada Dry fall Sunkist Orange Lemonade. Almost immediately, each soda geyser exploded high into the air – drenching Ariane.
Other studies confirmed what the VERIFY team saw in our experiment. A 2017 study conducted by a team of researchers who dripped Mentos into 15 different fizzy drinks, including seltzer water, Coca-Cola, Sprite, Diet Pepsi, and Diet Cherry Dr. Pepper, also found that the combination can cause an explosion.
So we can VERIFY that putting Mentos in a soda can make it explode. But let’s really dive into the science to show you why this is happening.
Mentos, the maker of Mentos Chewy Mints, explains on its website that soda and other carbonated drinks contain a certain amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) dissolved in water in the form of tiny bubbles, or fizz. The combination of water and CO2 molecules is in a permanently unstable state – but when a Mentos candy falls into the soda, this state is disturbed.
“The more Mentos dripped into the liquid, the worse this condition gets,” Mentos said. “The reason for this lies in the surface of a Mento, which looks smooth but is actually very rough! Bubbles form in the nooks and crannies of the microscopically rough surface, which in turn turn into foam, which then leads to very impressive foam fountains.”
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In the VERIFY experiment, we found that some combinations of Mentos and soda can cause a larger explosion.
ReAgent, a UK-based chemical company, explains in a blog post that there are many factors that can affect the height of a soda geyser, such as: B. the viscosity of the liquid and the presence of other chemicals in the mixture, such as caffeine and jelly. For example, if you drop a marble into two types of soda at the same time, it will take longer for the marble in the drink with the higher viscosity to hit the bottom.
What does this mean for our experiment? ReAgent says that diet sodas like Diet Coke, Coke Zero, and Diet Cherry Pepper respond better to Mentos than other non-diet sodas due to the lack of sugar. Most diet sodas contain aspartame, a zero-calorie chemical that makes the drink less viscous. This means the Mentos will move faster when you drop them in the bottle and interact with more CO2, which means more bubbles.
“A lack of sugar makes the soda mix less viscous because sweeteners like aspartame lower surface tension even more than usual. This in turn means that the carbon dioxide gas is released faster. The nucleation process is also faster, resulting in higher gas pressure,” ReAgent writes on its website.
If you want to try the Mentos and Soda Geyser experiment for yourself, scientists recommend doing the activity outside in the middle of a field or huge lawn, as things can get a little chaotic. To see more footage of VERIFY’s own experiment – including the bloopers – visit VERIFY’s YouTube channel.
Videography/Editing: Trevin Smith
Digital Author: Erin Jones
Social Media: Amanda Lashbaugh
Editors: Sara Roth, Lindsay Claiborn, Erica Jones, Jonathan Forsythe
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