The Coke and Mentos fountain experiment has grabbed worldwide attention, with thousands of people tuning into Eepybird.com (www.eepybird.com) to watch the explosive results of mixing the sweets with the fizzy drink.
Such is the interest in the video – which shows hundreds of large bottles of Diet Coke erupting in sequence – many Internet users have done the experiment themselves, created their own videos and posted them on video sharing site YouTube (www.youtube.com).
Dr Sarah Heath, who is Outreach Director for the School of Chemistry at The University of Manchester, goes into school in the Greater Manchester area to give exciting science demonstrations on solids, liquids and gases.
And after seeing how the video has captured the imagination of children, she is planning to capitalise on this interest and introduce the spectacular foaming fizzy fountain into her repertoire.
She said: “I mentioned to my daughter that I was looking at doing the Mentos and Diet Coke experiment, and she said all her friends at her school had been talking about it.
“I think it’s a great thing because it’s got children interested in science. We can talk about the chemistry that lies behind it later, but the important thing is to capture their attention in the first place.
Dr Heath already demonstrates how to make flat water fizzy by dissolving carbon dioxide into it. She feels the Coke and Mentos fountain fits nicely into her existing presentation, as it shows the gas coming out again.
The visuals are not dissimilar from an experiment she already performs for pupils, where oxygen is released from hydrogen peroxide to produce a spectacular mass of foaming bubbles.
Scientists and chemists have so far put forward various theories on why Diet Coke reacts so violently when Mentos are added, but Dr Heath feels the rough surface of the sweets plays a big part.
“If you drop anything into a fizzy drink you will get bubbles. For example, with ice you get bubbles but they don’t go mad and shoot out of the glass. If you poor a fizzy drink into a dirty glass, bubbles form around what we call nucleation sites. If the glass is cleaner and smoother, it doesn’t fizz as much.
“When you look at a Mento under a microscope you will see that it’s quite pitted and therefore has lots of nucleation sites, which causes the carbon dioxide to be released. There is probably also a chemical reaction occurring but there is a lot of debate about this.”
On the subject of what would happen to someone who drunk Diet Coke and then ate Mentos, Dr Heath says: “When you open a bottle of Coke and drink it, most of the gas escapes so the reaction would not be as violent. But you might find that you burped more than usual.
“I must stress that people should not try this under any circumstances, but if you drunk a lot of Diet Coke and swallowed a whole packet of Mentos without chewing, that could certainly produce an interesting reaction.”
At present Sarah has only been able to find fruit Mentos to recreate the experiment – but has discovered they work just as well.
Teachers interested in Dr Heath’s science demonstrations should email Sarah.L.Heath@manchester.ac.uk.
Closing the carbon loop
08.12.2016 | University of Pittsburgh
Newly discovered bacteria-binding protein in the intestine
08.12.2016 | University of Gothenburg
In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.
Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...
Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...
A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.
Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...
In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.
“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...
The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...
16.11.2016 | Event News
01.11.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
08.12.2016 | Life Sciences
08.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy
08.12.2016 | Materials Sciences