This story came across my Google alerts today from the crack team at ABC News… “Science of Mentos-Diet Coke Explosions Explained.” My fingers couldn’t click on the link fast enough. New research finally explains this amazing phenomenon? Here’s the opening sentence of the story…
The startling reaction between Diet Coke and Mentos sweets, made famous in thousands of YouTube videos, finally has a scientific explanation. A study in the US has identified the prime factors that drive the fizzy plumes from Coke bottles: the roughness of the sweet and how fast it plummets to the bottle’s base.
What… this is the big discovery? The Mentos chewy mints have a rough surface and they’re heavy? Well, they’re absolutely correct and they confirmed the original Mentos Eruption explanation published back in 2005. Tonya Coffey, a physicist at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina said, “This was a good project for my students to study because there was still some mystery to it.” Hats off to Coffey and her students for publishing her findings and bringing peer review to the Mentos Geyser experiment.
However, it was nice to have someone else confirm our findings that either fruit or mint Mentos work equally well. “The results showed that Diet Coke created the most spectacular explosions with either fruit or mint Mentos, the fountains travelling a horizontal distance of up to 7 metres.”
It was probably most fun to read the comments on the ABC News blog. What questions or “mysteries” about the Mentos reaction would you like to ask?
Our new Geyser Tube toy made it’s first public appearance at the Toy Fair in New York this morning. If you’ve ever tried to do the Mentos Geyser experiment, you know that it’s tough to a handful of Mentos candies into the bottle of soda before it starts to erupt. The Geyser Tube is a trigger device that holds a stack of Mentos candies directly above the opening of the bottle. Just pull the pin and the Mentos instantly drop into the soda and the soda geyser shoots up through the nozzle at the top of the tube.
Over the past year, we’ve come up with many ways The Geyser Tube attaches to the top of any 2-liter bottle and holdsof sodatrigger device that suspends a stack of Mentos candy above the open bottle of soda. When you pull the pin, the Mentos drop and the erupting soda is funneled updevice that holds
Steve Spangler, a science editor for a Colorado TV station and a toy maker on the side, this week demonstrated his “Geyser Tube” at the Toy Fair in New York. His toy is a plastic tube that can hold nine Mentos candies. A pin holds the candy in place while the tube is screwed to the top of the soda bottle. The opposite end is a narrow opening that acts like a nozzle.
A string is attached to the pin and when pulled, the Mentos plop to the bottom of the bottle, triggering the reaction. The Geyser Tube retails for $4.95 and can be purchased online at Stevespanglerscience.com.
It has the potential of being the most popular science fair project of all time. The Mentos Geyser is definitely fun to watch, but some teachers are missing the opportunity to use the activity to teach science. Over the last few weeks, I’ve received emails from students explaining that their teachers are forbidding them from doing the Mentos Geyser as a science project. Why? The common response is… “there’s no science to blowing up pop.”
What? How did these teachers miss the rich science content that oozes from the bottle with every eruption? Combine the strong science with the student’s motivation to want to use the scientific method and you’ve got an amazing activity.
Brian Rice, a math teacher at Gwinn Middle School in Michigan, recently used the Mentos Geyser as a great teaching opportunity. As one of the experiments, the middle schoolers measured how high pop would spray when a Mentos candy is dropped into the pop bottle. In one day, eighth-grade classes and some seventh-grade classes conducted the Mentos and pop experiment with the objective to see whether different types of pops have greater eruptions. They ended up testing a total of 44 different varieties, ranging from Diet Coke to root beer.
This is a great example of science in action. Here’s to Brian Rice – a great teacher who gets it! Instead of forbidding the activity, Mr. Rice uses the Internet sensation to grab his students’ attention and put the scientific method to the test.
Just the thought is scary… but I’m talking about the popular show Unwrapped on the Food Network. Producers from the show called to see if they could get a better look at the science behind the Mentos Geyser Experiment and to see if they could get a sneak peek at our new line of Geyser Tube toys. Not only did they get an up close view of the spewing soda geyser, the crew learned how to cook with 20 liters of liquid nitrogen.
I forgot to mention to the photographer, Andy McDonald, that he and his expensive HD camera would disappear in a giant cloud of smoke when I poured out the liquid nitrogen. The good news is that no one died when we wrapped up the day with a round of exploding, self-carving pumpkins.
The Mentos Geyser made history once again as the star attraction at the NAEYC 2006 Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. Over the rumble of the crowd in the exhibit hall, you could hear someone from the Spangler Science booth yell, “GEYSER!” followed by a few screams and cheers of excitement. The “geyser” was actually the eruption of a two-liter bottle of Diet Coke powered by Mentos. As soon as people approached the booth and saw the mountain of soda and the display of Mentos, they knew what could happen… but most people didn’t believe that we would actually launch the geysers from behind the booth. Surprise!
Instead of just launching the Diet Coke just for fun sake, we used each opportunity to deliver a quick science lesson and followed it up by putting one of our Geyser Tube Experiments in each of the teacher’s hands. Out of the 11,000 people reported to be in attendance at the event, we personally handed out 7,000 Geyser Tube Experiments (which included a roll of Mentos). We even had a few guest “geyserists” take center stage in the booth and try their hand at a launch.
This is not the first time these educators had seen or performed our Mentos Geyser which was featured on stage three years ago in Anaheim, California at the 2003 NAEYC Conference. One teacher commented, “We’ve been doing this experiment for the past three years, and it took the rest of the world this long to catch up!”