Fun with Less Kilowatts: The Soda Geyser Experiment

By Brooke Drake, June 15, 2016, Family

Welcome to Fun with Less Kilowatts! We believe that science experiments at home can be a creative way to engage kids in learning while having fun. They can be educational AND great activities to keep your kids busy and away from the television. Each month, we’ll feature a new science experiment that can be a great resource for parents and teachers.

The Soda Geyser Experiment

Fun with Less Kilowatts: The Soda Geyser Experiment | Bounce Energy Blog

Since it’s summer time, I let my daughter select the next science experiment in the series. And in a move that surprised no one, this is the one that she picked – one that explodes and is messy. I decided to embrace the fun and encourage her curiosity – and I knew our readers would enjoy it, too.

The Materials

Fun with Less Kilowatts: The Soda Geyser Experiment | Bounce Energy Blog

  • One 2-liter bottle of Diet Coke
  • One roll of Mentos candy (only used about half)
  • Cookie sheet (Optional)

While we usually do not endorse specific products, this experiment really does work best with these two brands. We’ve tried it with other similar candy products, and the results are never the same.

According to Science Kids, Diet Coke is better than other soft drinks because its ingredients make it less sticky than other sodas, while Mentos work because the tiny dimples on the candy greatly increases the surface area, allowing for more bubbles to form.

The Setting

For obvious reasons, it’s best to do the soda geyser experiment outside and on the grass if possible. I create a flat surface using an old cookie sheet in order to prevent the soda bottle from tipping over.

The Directions

Fun with Less Kilowatts: The Soda Geyser Experiment | Bounce Energy Blog

1) Stand the soda bottle upright and unscrew the top.

Fun with Less Kilowatts: The Soda Geyser Experiment | Bounce Energy Blog

2) Drop in about half of the Mentos. The version of this experiment I followed recommended using a funnel for adding the Mentos, but since I didn’t have one, my daughter used her hands instead.

Fun with Less Kilowatts: The Soda Geyser Experiment | Bounce Energy Blog

3) Run!

The Results

Fun with Less Kilowatts: The Soda Geyser Experiment | Bounce Energy Blog

 

It worked! As soon as the Mentos hit the soda, the geyser erupted immediately.

The Science

This experiment focuses on carbon dioxide, the gas pumped into soft drinks to make them bubbly – hence, the name “carbonated beverage.” Once pumped in, the carbon dioxide doesn’t get released until the can or bottle is opened. The reason a soda goes “flat” after being opened for a while is because all the carbon dioxide has been released. When dropping the Mentos into the Diet Coke, the reaction causes the carbon dioxide to escape much faster than by just opening and pouring it out.

Did you have success with this experiment? What would you like to see us try in the next installment of Fun with Less Kilowatts? Share with us in the comments!

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