View Full Version : Why do Mentos mints cause soda to explode?


Nasor
12-27-05, 10:08 PM
Mentos brand mints cause the carbonation in soda to very rapidly come out of solution. You can find plenty of photos and videos of it online, and Iíve personally confirmed it with some mentos and a 2-liter bottle of generic soda.

Does anyone know why this happens? Iíve found some explanations online about the arabic gum in the mentos lowering the gas solubility, but that doesnít make any sense to me. Arabic gum is mainly polysacharides and glycoproteins..I donít see why that would suddenly lower the gas solubility.

identityless
12-28-05, 03:31 AM
What would happen if I drank a lot of soda and the immediately swallow a few mentos? Will my stomach explode?

Facial
12-31-05, 07:28 PM
Is the heat of solution for sugar exothermic? Does table salt have the same effect? Raising the temperature of the water for evolution of gas might make sense. Of course that assumes that Mentos has real sugar, which I am not sure of.

Communist Hamster
01-01-06, 03:42 AM
What would happen if I drank a lot of soda and the immediately swallow a few mentos? Will my stomach explode?

They tried something similar to that on Mythbusters, only with fizzy sweets. It didn't explode but it did swell up quite a bit.

Neildo
01-01-06, 03:53 AM
Yeah, I saw a webclip of someone putting a pack of Mentos into a 2-liter of cola and the foam shot up 20+ feet, lol.

Here's a link to it:


http://www.ifilm.com/ifilmdetail/2681471?htv=12

A handful of Mentos are dropped into a 2-liter bottle of soda with unbelievably explosive results. According to WLTX, "Mentos contains a chemical known as ARABIC GUM (this is the ingredient that makes the mint "chewy"). This ingredient causes the surface tension of the water molecules to break even more easily, releasing more carbon dioxide gas at an astounding rate!"

- N

vslayer
01-01-06, 03:09 PM
it works with other mints too, just not to the same effect

TruthSeeker
01-01-06, 06:27 PM
Why do Mentos mints cause soda to explode?
Cause soda is turned on by mentos! :m:

TruthSeeker
01-01-06, 06:28 PM
What would happen if I drank a lot of soda and the immediately swallow a few mentos? Will my stomach explode?
Yes. That's a great way to kill yourslef. Couldn't be easier....

cato
01-03-06, 05:18 PM
I highly doubt you could kill yourself with such a reaction. you would probably expel the gas one way or another before explosion.

Communist Hamster
01-04-06, 02:00 AM
Not if you sealed yourself up with sealant.

Oh my, I wish I hadn't thought of that now.

TruthSeeker
01-04-06, 02:30 AM
Aha.....

Neildo
01-08-06, 10:48 AM
I wonder if soda and mentos would be a good laxitive for when you're constipated. Just close your mouth so it all comes out the other hole.

- N

Facial
01-08-06, 06:11 PM
I take my first comment back. The evolution of gases is much too rapid for just a small increase in temperature.

Is there some catalytic reaction occuring with the carbonate ion? I can't think of much else.

allisone417
01-08-06, 09:27 PM
Why do Mentos mints cause people to want to make out with the consumer? The commercial just about promised!

QuarkMoon
01-08-06, 11:26 PM
I miss those commercials. Mentos > You.

Communist Hamster
01-09-06, 02:00 AM
http://answers.google.com/answers/threadview?id=17234

Similar principle I suppose.

Nasor
01-09-06, 09:49 AM
Mentos Update - A bit of experimentation has revealed the following:

1. Dissolving several Mentos in a small amount of water and dumping the ĎMentolatedí water into a 2-liter of soda doesnít produce a fizz explosion.

2. Dropping several Mentos that have had their outer coating dissolved off into soda also does not produce any fizz.

invert_nexus
01-09-06, 10:39 AM
http://antoine.frostburg.edu/chem/senese/101/consumer/faq/mentos.shtml

Mentos have a strange chalky color and texture and they do taste rather like antacid tablets. If the chalkiness comes from carbonates, the fizzing might be explained as a neutralization reaction that produces CO2.

But the ingredients don't include carbonates- or any other significantly alkaline material. All variations of Mentos contain sugar, glucose syrup, hydrogenated coconut oil, gelatin, dextrin, "natural flavor", corn starch, and gum arabic. They're basically just a big pellet of flavored sugar with gummy stuff added to give them structural integrity and to keep them from sticking together in the package.

So why do Mentos make diet soda foam so violently? It's a physical reaction, not a chemical one.

Ordinarily, water resists the expansion of bubbles in the soda. Water molecules attract each other strongly, and they link together to form a tight mesh around each bubble. It takes energy to push water molecules away from each other to form a new bubble, or to expand a bubble that has already been formed. The phenomenon is called "surface tension".

Now drop a Mentos into the soda. The gelatin and gum arabic from the dissolving candy disrupts the water mesh, so it takes less work to expand bubbles. At the same time, the roughness of the candy surface provides many little nooks and crannies that allow new bubbles to form more quickly (a process called nucleation). As more of the surface dissolves, both processes accelerate, and foam rapidly begins to form.

You can see a similar effect when cooking potatoes or pasta in a pot of boiling water. The water will sometimes boil over because organic materials that leach out of the cooking potatoes or pasta disrupt the tight mesh of water molecules at the surface of the water, making it easier for bubbles and foam to form. (See also: Why does adding oil to cooking water keep it from boiling over?) Root beer can also foam over if a scoop of ice cream is added, for essentially the same reason. The surface tension of the root beer is lowered by gums and proteins from the melting ice cream, and the CO2 outgassing from the root beer blows the foam.

Test this hypothesis by dropping a Mentos into orange juice or any acidic but noncarbonated drink, or by dropping a Mentos into completely "flat" soda. What happens? Why?

tablariddim
01-09-06, 10:53 AM
I get a similar effect when I drop a pinch of calcium carbonate powder into a glass of Perrier.

Nasor
01-09-06, 11:37 AM
Now drop a Mentos into the soda. The gelatin and gum arabic from the dissolving candy disrupts the water mesh, so it takes less work to expand bubbles. At the same time, the roughness of the candy surface provides many little nooks and crannies that allow new bubbles to form more quickly (a process called nucleation). As more of the surface dissolves, both processes accelerate, and foam rapidly begins to form.
I don't think that this is correct. If the decrease in gas solubility was caused by the arabic gum etc. in the mento breaking up the hydrogen bonding in water, then I would expect to see fizz from pouring water that contained dissolved mentos into the soda. If it was caused by the mentos providing a rough surface for bubbles to form, then I would expect to see fizz when dropping in partly-dissolved mentos. Experimentation shows that neither produces the foam geyser.

Kunax
01-10-06, 11:53 AM
We tried this at work with a regular coca cola (1ĹL) and 1 package of mentos mint with a overwelmingly disapointing result, sure it the cola reacted to the mentos, but it only produces a 10cm soda beam at its peak, so very disapointing.
how ever coca cola with out the fizz and a minty flavor actualy taste ok

in the movie they use diet and also inverts cut and paste mention diet soda, has anyone tried this, i think i will tomorrow.

Nasor
01-10-06, 03:11 PM
I tried it with a cheap generic brand cola and 3 mentos. It shot about six feet in the air and sustained that height for about 2-3 seconds.

ricegf
01-17-06, 06:31 AM
We tried this at work with a regular coca cola (1ĹL) and 1 package of mentos mint with a overwelmingly disapointing result, sure it the cola reacted to the mentos, but it only produces a 10cm soda beam at its peak...

We did some experimentation this past weekend. We tried Tic Tacs, Altoids and a few other mint products against generic diet soda, and all produced the disappointing 10cm soda beam.

Only the Mentos-brand mints (the ones that are sized to fit perfectly in a test tube) produced the 2m soda beam for several seconds. I have no idea what's so special about that particular brand with respect to soda.

But the kids in our children's church were certainly amazed! (We used an old 2m diameter children's swimming pool to catch (ahem) most of the flying soda.)

Kunax
01-17-06, 06:49 AM
Well we continued our little game the next day with a coca cola light(proberly the same as US diet) 2l. which produce a 3-4m high beam for a few seconds, with 13 mentos.

The day after that we tried a coca cola light, normal cocacola and a cheap pineapple soda, all of then only 0.5L. non of thies made any significant beam althou the light cola reacted slightly faster then the rest followed by the pineapple and then regular cola.

Our end conclusion is that it must be a mixture of the ligth soda and the special shape of the 2L bottle that enables it to make such high beams.

Tasting
Coca Cola Light aswell as normal Cola tasted quite ok with a slight minty flavor and no fizz, however letting the mentos get absorbed in the cola for a prolonged period of time is NOT recommended, as that will make the cola far to minty, to the point where it give a slight burn on the lips.

Pineapple and mentos.... big nono

edit.: because i felt like doing so

spuriousmonkey
01-17-06, 07:07 AM
This sounds all much more interesting than the experiments I do for a living.

:(

hug-a-tree
01-17-06, 07:23 AM
I've heard that if you bite into a mento in the dark you can see it spark.

entwife
02-13-08, 06:40 PM
No, I don't think Mentos spark. That's Wintergreen lifesavers. Crunch 'em up in a dark bathroom while looking in the mirror.

Barry Flannery
02-15-08, 10:26 AM
The primary cause for the reaction is actually due to ''nucleation sites'' on the mentos sweet. It has a huge surface area compare to what you see due to micro cavities (look at the lunar surface for example). This helps creating bubbles and a higher surface area allows more reactions to take place.

Barry

MetaKron
02-21-08, 09:04 AM
With the Mentos sweets you have a good combination of size and weight. For this reaction to work right it has to start at the bottom of the soda. It even has to wait until it gets to the bottom. Mentos is heavy so it sinks faster than it causes fizzing. Then the weight of the soda on top of it contains the reaction a little longer so that it builds a bigger charge of gas. There is also the fact that Mentos fits the opening of the two-liter bottle. The coating prevents bubbles from clinging to the candy and lifting it from the bottom of the bottle.

ANY shock to the soda pop causes it to release gas. When the shock starts at the bottom it involves the whole volume of the liquid. A little bit of fizzing cascades into a lot of fizzing, you just need an initial jolt to start the cascade going.

Archie
02-22-08, 08:39 AM
What would happen if I drank a lot of soda and the immediately swallow a few mentos? Will my stomach explode?If nothing else, you would do some world class belches and quite possibly projectile vomiting.

The danger comes in not being able to vent the expanding gasses quickly enough. The human stomach does stretch and is reasonably strong, but it's pretty finite and was never intended for this sort of thing.

I would seriously discourage anyone from trying this sort of thing. At best, you probably vomit foam through your nose - at worst you rupture your stomach. Reminds me unfavorably of "Hey Bubba; hold my beer and watch this!"

Stand by, film at eleven.