Why do Mentos mints cause soda to explode?

Discussion in 'General Science & Technology' started by Nasor, Dec 28, 2005.

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  1. Nasor Valued Senior Member

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    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 I’ve personally confirmed it with some mentos and a 2-liter bottle of generic soda.

    Does anyone know why this happens? I’ve found some explanations online about the arabic gum in the mentos lowering the gas solubility, but that doesn’t make any sense to me. Arabic gum is mainly polysacharides and glycoproteins..I don’t see why that would suddenly lower the gas solubility.
     
  2. identityless Registered Senior Member

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    What would happen if I drank a lot of soda and the immediately swallow a few mentos? Will my stomach explode?
     
  3. Facial Valued Senior Member

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    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.
     
  4. Communist Hamster Cricetulus griseus leninus Valued Senior Member

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

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    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:

    - N
     
  6. vslayer Registered Senior Member

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    it works with other mints too, just not to the same effect
     
  7. TruthSeeker The Truth is Out There Valued Senior Member

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    Why do Mentos mints cause soda to explode?
    Cause soda is turned on by mentos! :m:
     
  8. TruthSeeker The Truth is Out There Valued Senior Member

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    Yes. That's a great way to kill yourslef. Couldn't be easier....
     
  9. cato less hate, more science Registered Senior Member

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    I highly doubt you could kill yourself with such a reaction. you would probably expel the gas one way or another before explosion.
     
  10. Communist Hamster Cricetulus griseus leninus Valued Senior Member

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    Not if you sealed yourself up with sealant.

    Oh my, I wish I hadn't thought of that now.
     
  11. TruthSeeker The Truth is Out There Valued Senior Member

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    Aha.....
     
  12. Neildo Gone Registered Senior Member

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    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
     
  13. Facial Valued Senior Member

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    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.
     
  14. allisone417 i'll be in my room Registered Senior Member

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    Why do Mentos mints cause people to want to make out with the consumer? The commercial just about promised!
     
  15. QuarkMoon I Registered Senior Member

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    I miss those commercials. Mentos > You.
     
  16. Communist Hamster Cricetulus griseus leninus Valued Senior Member

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  17. Nasor Valued Senior Member

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    Mentos Update - A bit of experimentation has revealed the following:

    1. Dissolving several Mentos in a small amount of water and dumping the ‘Mentolated’ water into a 2-liter of soda doesn’t produce a fizz explosion.

    2. Dropping several Mentos that have had their outer coating dissolved off into soda also does not produce any fizz.
     
  18. invert_nexus Ze do caixao Valued Senior Member

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    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?
     
  19. tablariddim forexU2 Valued Senior Member

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    I get a similar effect when I drop a pinch of calcium carbonate powder into a glass of Perrier.
     
  20. Nasor Valued Senior Member

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    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.
     
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