Mentos Super Soda Dispenser 3000
Steve's son, Jack Spangler, decided that it is just too hard to pour soft drinks by turning a 2-liter bottle of soda upside down. The bottle is just too heavy. So Jack decided to use the power of Mentos and Diet Coke to fill 6 glasses at once and solve his problem. It's a fun, creative, hands-on way to utilize the epic Mentos Geyser in a way that harnesses it for your drinking pleasure.
- Geyser Tube
- Diet soda
- Mentos candies
- Six cups
- Two PVC endcaps
- Six pieces of 3/4" PVC (3" in length)
- Six pieces of 1/2" PVC (10" in length)
- Seven 3/4" to 1/2" PVC reducing "Ts"
- One piece of thin-walled 3/4" PVC (4" in length)
- One reducing "T"
- One piece of 3/4" thin-walled PVC (4" in length)
- Geyser Tube
- Place the Geyser Tube cap inside the 3/4" piece of PVC.
- Attach the 3/4" PVC to the reducing "T."
- Three reducing "Ts"
- Two pieces of 3/'4" PVC (3" in length)
- Three pieces of 1/2" PVC (10" in length)
- Connect the reducing "Ts" using the lengths of 3/4" PVC.
- Attach the 1/2" PVC pieces to the reducing "Ts."
- Repeat these steps to create an identical apparatus in the shape of an "M."
- Two pieces of 1/2" PVC
- Finished Part 1 piece
- Both finished Part 2 pieces
- Place a 3/4" piece of PVC into each side of the reducing "T" of the finished Part 1 piece.
- Using these 3/4" pieces, connect the Part 1 piece to both Part 2 pieces.
Place the endcaps in the remaining reducing "T" openings and each end.
- Finished Part 3 piece
- Mentos candies
- Diet soda
- Geyser Tube
- Six cups
- Fill the Geyser Tube with Mentos candies. Be sure the Geyser Tube's pin is pushed to the in position.
- Attach the Geyser Tube to the open bottle of diet soda.
- Attach the finished Part 3 piece to the top of the Geyser Tube.
- Place a cup under each 1/2" PVC piece.
- Pull the Geyser Tube pin and… voila! You have six cups of diet soda!
How Does It Work?
Here's the question of the day... Why do Mentos mixed with soda produce this incredible eruption? You should know that there is considerable debate over how and why this works. While we offer the most probable explanations below, we also understand and admit that other explanation could be possible... and we welcome your thoughts.
As you probably know, soda is basically sugar (or diet sweetener), flavoring, water and preservatives. The thing that makes soda bubbly is invisible carbon dioxide gas, which is pumped into bottles at the bottling factory using tons of pressure. Until you open the bottle and pour a glass of soda, the gas mostly stays suspended in the liquid and cannot expand to form more bubbles, which gases naturally do.
But there's more... If you shake the bottle and then open it, the gas is released from the protective hold of the water molecules and escapes with a whoosh, taking some of the soda along with it. What other ways can you cause the gas to escape? Just drop something into a glass of soda and notice how bubbles immediately form on the surface of the object. For example, adding salt to soda causes it to foam up because thousands of little bubbles form on the surface of each grain of salt. Many scientists, including Lee Marek, claim that the Mentos phenomenon is a physical reaction, not a chemical one.
Water molecules strongly attract each other, linking together to form a tight mesh around each bubble of carbon dioxide gas in the soda. In order to form a new bubble, or even to expand a bubble that has already formed, water molecules must push away from each other. It takes extra energy to break this "surface tension." In other words, water "resists" the expansion of bubbles in the soda.
When you drop the Mentos into the soda, the gelatin and gum arabic from the dissolving candy break the surface tension. This disrupts the water mesh, so that it takes less work to expand and form new bubbles. Each Mentos candy has thousands of tiny pits all over the surface. These tiny pits are called nucleation sites - perfect places for carbon dioxide bubbles to form. As soon as the Mentos hit the soda, bubbles form all over the surface of the candy.
Couple this with the fact that the Mentos candies are heavy and sink to the bottom of the bottle and you've got a double-whammy. When all this gas is released, it literally pushes all of the liquid up and out of the bottle in an incredible soda blast. You can see a similar effect when cooking potatoes or pasta are lowered into 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.
When a scoop of ice cream is added to root beer, the float foams over 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 bubbles expand and release easily, creating a beautiful foam on top Next question... Why should you use diet Coke or diet Pepsi? The simple answer is that diet soda just works better than regular soda. Some people speculate that it has something to do with the artificial sweetener, but the verdict is still out. More importantly, diet soda does not leave a sticky mess to have to clean up. Hey, that's important!
What's the record for the biggest Mentos fountain? My official record is a 18 foot blast that shot up and almost took out a half million dollar, high-definition television camera. You'll find video on-line at www.SteveSpanglerScience.com of some of our favorite eruptions.
On a personal note... Steve has performed this demonstration well over a thousand times - on television, talk shows, science conventions, teacher associations, for CEO's at huge motivational speaking rallies, for Nobel Prize winners and anyone else who might watch. And the reaction is always the same... that's amazing! My thanks to Lee Marek who originally shared the Mentos idea with me and to the hundreds of teachers and science enthusiasts who continue to share their funny pictures, videos and experiences.
- Mentos Coke 3000 Review by Bob
It spilled on me and the force of it was amazing!
(Posted on December 13, 2009)
- really Review by kala gaughan
i really liked this alot im trying this for my 7th grade year science project at my school (John e.ford)i really hope this gets me a A+ on my science projjecct. october-24-2010
(Posted on October 24, 2010)