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News Anchor Gets Soaked! Mentos Experiment Sets a New Record

SpanglerMentosKim Christiansen thought that Monday would be just another fun, hands-on science segment with Steve Spangler. Little did she know that the bottles of soda would explode and she would be wearing the experiment. This is not the first time I’ve done the Mentos Soda Explosion on the air, but I can safely say that I’ve never gotten these great results either.

Learn how to do the Mentos Soda Explosion – read the experiment

SpanglerMentosOkay, so what happens behind the scenes? Did I practice this with Kim? No… never… absolutely not! Now, this is not to say that I don’t practice the demo ahead of time – there’s lots of prep that goes into each segment. But I don’t let my cohort in crime know in advance EXACTLY what is going to happen… because I want the viewer to see that person experience the demo for the first time. It’s tough to fake genuine excitement or the element of surprise, and as you can see from the video segment, Kim was surprised. As they say in the business, that makes “good TV”. How high did the soda erupt? Judging from the slow motion that we replayed in master control, it looks like the soda shot up to about 16 feet. That’s the power of carbon dioxide in a 2-liter bottle of Diet Coke. And yes, Diet Coke remains to be the best performer (and I’ve tried almost everything). One final note… the Diet Coke was room temperature, I used 13 Mentos candies that dropped from a big plastic test tube.

Again, this is just one of the 50 experiments in the Fizz Factor book.

85 replies
  1. Tara
    Tara says:

    I love this one, we did it at my son’s birthday last weekend and the kids went nuts, and just for fun we sent them home with the stuff to do it again. It’s all about spreading the fun.

    Reply
  2. Jonah Cohen
    Jonah Cohen says:

    I work at a science center; I’ve done/seen a LOT of science demonstrations. In terms of spectacle to how easy it is to do, this may be the greatest demo ever. (ie I can think of more spectacular ones, but most folks don’t want to be screwing around with liquid nitrogen.) BTW: In lieu of the Mentos/plastic test tube Steve used, a large paper clip bent into a fish-hook shape and a roll of Wintergreen Lifesavers will work, too.

    What we need more of is science,
    Jonah Cohen

    Reply
  3. Steve
    Steve says:

    I, too, used to use Wintergreen Lifesavers… but when Lee Marek taught me about Mentos, everything changed! Mentos draw out the CO2 so much better. Give it a try.

    Reply
  4. earl reum
    earl reum says:

    Sensational and wonderful and inspiring and phenomenal and I promise I will do something about it — like try to reproduce it locally….

    I’m thrilled! (and drenched)

    Reply
  5. Linda Wunderly
    Linda Wunderly says:

    I can not wait to do this with my first graders. Watching the video was a hoot. Thanks Steve for another great “hook” for science.

    Reply
  6. Lisenell Smith
    Lisenell Smith says:

    I saw this last year with Steve’s group at the NSTA Convention and loved it. I did it for the whole second grade at our end of year picnic; everyone including parents were amazed and wanted to see it again. Some of the dads said it shot up over 16 feet. I think it may work better when the soda if hot. Thanks for the great experiment and WOW.

    Reply
  7. Norm Ivey
    Norm Ivey says:

    I did this with my 6th graders last Friday. We used Wint-o-Green Lifesavers, but one child conducted further tests at home and found that Mentos were superior. We also observed that diets erupt best. My students suggested that it was because diets are less dense than regular sodas (which they knew because of the Coke/Diet Coke floating experiment). Thanks for all the great ideas.

    Reply
  8. Joyce Koenig
    Joyce Koenig says:

    I did this experiment last year at the end of a school day. My pre-schoolers loved it and they wanted me to do it for the parents when they picked them up from school. On one day I did the experiment 4 times and everyone thought it was cool. After seeing it again, I will do it for my pre-schoolers in the next couple of weeks when we talk about the fun side of science.

    Reply
  9. Karren Valenteen
    Karren Valenteen says:

    So when does the urban legend begin? Did you hear about the guy who drank a diet coke and then ate a handful of mentos. His head exploded. We are going to have a reading incentive party with a number of the soda experiemnts. Last year we did alot with your sound experiments and the kids loved it. Thank you so much for making science fun for everyone.

    Reply
  10. Mark Miller
    Mark Miller says:

    What an awesome experiment and great game idea. I am a Youth Minister and our kids loved the game that we made out of this. One person had to lie down on the floor on their back with the 2 liter ballanced on their forehead. Their partner dropped the mentos in and after the explosion you had to chug what was left in the bottle. First one done wins. Thanks for the idea.

    Reply
  11. Peggy Sammons
    Peggy Sammons says:

    I saw you do this experiment at the ECA Conference in Orlando last year. I had forgotten how fun it was but will show my Pre-K class next week.
    Peggy Sammons
    Bradenton Florida

    Reply
  12. Kris
    Kris says:

    the experiment was awesome! i go to ligon middle school and my science teacher did it for us. it was really cool and i wasn’t expecting the results to be like that at all so it really surprised me. well now we’re learning about it and what made it explode and its really interesting. thanks a lot!

    Reply
  13. Chad and Beau
    Chad and Beau says:

    After seeing this video, my colleague and I had a spark of inspiration. We immediately drove 20 miles to the nearest Kroger at 7 am to render supplies. At Kroger, we promptly assessed the situation and collected 4 2 liter bottles of Big K Diet Cola, 2 3 Liter bottles of Big K Diet Cola, 3 packs of Mentos, 2 Star Wars Mix M&M’s Minis (test tubes), and 1 Pirate Eyepatch/Earing Combo (not used for the scientific experiment). Needless to say, our experiments went off without a hitch.

    Beau says, “It was freakin rad!” He is still rockin the eye patch and earring. I concurred with his assessment.

    Reply
  14. Dave
    Dave says:

    I was just going through your list of experiments and saw the picture of the Mentos fountain. I accidentally did a similar thing back in 1956. I was 12 and had a fondness for creme soda, and also liked the flavored colas (lemon, cherry, etc) you could get at a soda fountain. I thought I could change the creme soda flavor a bit by dropping in a Fizzie tablet. If you don’t remember them they were flavored Alka-Seltzer like tablets you could drop in water to make a soda. You know what happened! As soon as the reaction began I knew what was going on. When it was all done I had less than a quarter bottle of liquid which tasted terrible.

    I genuinely like your segments. Keep up the good work, and Mr. Wizard’s legacy.

    Reply
  15. Sofia
    Sofia says:

    I am using this experiment for a volcano progect at school. It doen’t really look like a volcanic erruption but it sure beats using bi-carb and vinegar!!

    Reply
  16. Lisa
    Lisa says:

    I couldn’t stop laughing when I saw this clip – it brought back one of my favorite childhood memories of pouring the contents a giant pixie stick into my mom’s bottle of “TaB”, while she sat burried behind the newspaper. The Tab exploded all over the celing and I’ll never forget the look of fear as my mom flew out of her seat and screamed a word I’d never heard before!

    Thanks – I’ll have to show this to my kids!

    Reply
  17. Matt K.
    Matt K. says:

    This is a really great experiment, but I tried it with club soda and seltzer water, and got only a 6 inch geyser no matter how many Mentos I used. What gives? Doing it with diet coke got a geyser of 10 ft. What variable in the diet soda is different from the clear carbonated beverages?

    If anyone has a theory I’d love to hear about it! Thanks,

    Matt k.

    Reply
  18. Emerlie Miller
    Emerlie Miller says:

    What’s better (and ensures that all the mints will go in), is to drill a hole into a 3-liter bottle cap, making it big enough to fit a straw through. Then put the straw through, string some Lifesavers on the straw under the cap. Chew some gum and stick it at the end so that the mints can’t come off right away. Go outside, and holding the straw, carefully screw the lid back on. Once ready, pull out the straw as fast as you can, causing the mints to fall all at once into the coke. The intensified pressure from the very small hole in the cap will make it go higher. I’ve done this….5 times now 🙂

    Reply
  19. Steve
    Steve says:

    A few thoughts to the many posts… yes, Diet Coke is the real winner (followed by Diet Pepsi)… and no one really knows why. But if the pressure is on and I’m doing it on television or for a big audience, I’ll always use Diet Coke. With regard to Wintergreen Lifesavers… this is the way many of us used to do it before Lee Marek suggested Mentos. Thanks to literally hundreds of people trying out different variations, we’ve determined that a whole roll of Mentos, (13 candies) dropped into a bottle of room temperature Diet Coke will produce about an 18 foot eruption. Awesome.

    Reply
  20. Jill
    Jill says:

    Most awesome! We let the kids in our family each make their own Mentos-Diet-Coke fountain at our Christmas gathering. They all loved it! We set the Coke bottles in the sun to warm them up, and got better results. (We were too afraid to try to warm the sealed Diet Coke bottles in the microwave!)

    Another fun trick is to just drop one single Mento into a can of Diet Coke. No big eruption, but plenty of overflowing bubbles that will empty about half the can. We got a similar (but slower) reaction with a bottle of beer, but had to break the Mento in half to get it to fit in the bottle!

    Reply
  21. Beth
    Beth says:

    I did this experiment last year with my science club at the after school program I work at. All the kids loved it and thought it was great. The best thing was that one of my students who participated in this came to me and asked if I could help him make a coke explode because he wanted to do it for his schools science fair.

    Reply
  22. Everett
    Everett says:

    I’m doing this experiment for a scince expo project at my school I decided to test different varibles with it like the temperature of the coke one at room temp. and the other one being in the fridge chilled and seeing witch one has a larger reaction to the arabic gases. Thanks for all the info!!

    Reply
  23. Sam
    Sam says:

    Coming from the UK, we don’t get ‘Mentos’ over here. But the experiment looks great. Will be very amusing to do in the common room at college. Can you guys think of any British equivalents?

    Cheers, Sam

    Reply
  24. Carla Parsons
    Carla Parsons says:

    On Saturday morning, in 12 degree temperatures, we went to Walmart and bought two 2-lliters of diet soda mentos. We went in the back yard and successfully erupted the soda. My kids went wild! We’ve done it two more times since then—it’s a big hit. They’ve also made predictions about temperature outside, and brands of soda, so far. — Carla

    Reply
  25. Paul Orselli
    Paul Orselli says:

    Great experiment! Thank for sharing all your great ideas. We ran to Walgreens to get supplies, but they only had “sugar free” Mentos. That geyser was a fizzle.

    When we were able to get some “regular” Mentos, the soda geyser was a big backyard success with my kids and their friends.

    Does anyone have any ideas why the “sugar free” Mentos don’t seem to work as well?

    Reply
  26. Melissa
    Melissa says:

    hey I was wondering, I am going to do the experiment but does it matter if you use mint mentos or the fruit mentos? please coment back on this message.
    THANKS!
    Melissa

    Reply
  27. Corey
    Corey says:

    Wanna make it better? We drilled a very small hole in the cap. Ran a very thin nail through 2 Mentos and from underneath through the cap. We poured a little diet Pepsi out of 2-Liter so the Mentos under the cap wouldn’t touch the liquid. Put the cap on, dropped the nail and I’d say at least 30 feet in the air. I don’t know if more Mentos works better, but we’ve been having great success with just 2. Try it with a small hole in cap though, really get some heigth.

    Reply
  28. Sara
    Sara says:

    I am using this as my science report/project and I am soooooo excited!!! It’s going to be sooooo much fun!!! : )

    Reply
  29. sence
    sence says:

    this is so cool. I did something pretty stupid with that i put my mouth over itwhen it explode so im warning you dont put your mouth over it when it is going to explode.

    Reply
  30. stinky sock
    stinky sock says:

    i love how it looks like a fountail it is so cool!!!!!!!!

    with this outcome you could simintaniously blow up every toilet in Canada!

    WOW!!!!!!!!!!

    Reply
  31. Chris
    Chris says:

    I’ve heard about this experiment before. I was listening to NPR one day and I heard the same thing. It is absolutely amazing. I’m going to see what other sweet things might work better.

    Reply
  32. Dave
    Dave says:

    I believe you’ve kick-started a national phenomenon! I saw the experiment demonstrated on my local (Utah) news last week, and I’ve overheard several other people’s coversations on the topic as well… I’m off to try it for myself now!

    Reply
  33. JJ
    JJ says:

    I am a high-school student. I can’t wait to make a mess of my mates. My only concern is about the consquences but I then again I never knew what would happen… :p

    Reply
  34. brian b
    brian b says:

    I’ve done this experiment a number of times, and I had a sparkle of an idea. If there is so much force coming out of the top of the bottle, what happened if it was facing the ground?

    To try this, I used a bent large paper clip and emptied a tiny bit of soda out of the diet coke. I screwed the cap on just enough so that it could fly off due to the pressure. If you are fast enough, throw the bottle against the ground, cap down. The cap will fly off, and the mentos will propel like a rocket!

    Reply
  35. Tyler Coleman
    Tyler Coleman says:

    Has anyone tried it with different temperatures of soda?
    Since heat tends to expand the gas bubbles, there is a lot less carbonation in lukewarm sodas and the geysers didn’t achieve the same heighth. However, at 34 degrees Fahrenheit, they do not go quite as high as the 42 degree soda. Citing simple chemistry, the gas is contained much better when the cold doesn’t make the gas molecules “shrivel”, but also not when the temperature is too high to make the molecules expand and heat up.
    I recommend using a 40-45 degree F. temperature when showing it to your kids, it’ll not only make the show more impressive but they’ll also wonder why yours works so much better than theirs does 🙂

    Prof. of Bio-Chemical Studies Intermediate,
    Greycool University, IN
    Tyler Coleman

    Reply
  36. Craig O
    Craig O says:

    Hi fantastic, a real must try experiemnt, is there a new fuel here – lol.

    I remember achiveving something similar with a small bottle of pop (soda) in a cafe in Durham (UK) with my mum, she was having a cup of tea and I was having a pop, well they used to put wrapped sugar cubes in a bowl on the table, a couple of these expertley pinched and quickly rammed into the bottle soon got us both thrown out onto the street – sorry mam.

    Great stuff keep it up!

    Reply
  37. Heather
    Heather says:

    Sam – my friends and I tried it with Millions today at college. We didn’t quite master the technique of allowing the sweets to quickly fall into the Coke the first time, yet we produced a good fountain with our second attempt.

    Reply
  38. Sylvester
    Sylvester says:

    Ha! We did this at school… but our teacher didn’t tell the kid who put the mentos in what would happen… the kid got soaked in diet coke! Ha! I found that awesome. I heard that before, in the first classes, the teacher was doing it inside and the pop kept hitting the ceiling and ruined some electrical stuff. It was awesome!

    Reply
  39. Steve
    Steve says:

    Joe M shared this info with me in a email…

    For a very analytical and scientific understanding of this experiment, read the article by two analytical chemists at the Dept. of Chemistry at Illinois State Univ. called “The Ultrasonic Soda Fountain: A Dramatic Demonstration of Gas Solubility in Aqueous Solutions.”? This can be found in the Journal of Chemical Education or on-line as a PDF file at: http://jchemed.chem.wisc.edu/HS/Journal/Issues/2006/Apr/clicSubscriber/V83N04/p577.pdf
    These scientists, applying a true inquiry based scientific process, identify Diet Coke as the best supersaturated carbonated liquid to use. Discussion of bubble formation, temperature effects, presence of other dissolved materials, and Henry’s Law (describes the relationship between the concentration
    of a gas dissolved in a solvent and the partial
    pressure of the gas). With this phenomena of releasing carbon dioxide quickly from a gas/liquid mixture, more teachers should take advantage of this opportunity to explore this science with their students. Everyone should share in this excitement and be involved with inquiry based, hands-on and minds-on science activities that helps us understand and learn from the world around us.

    Joe Maglaty is a great science resource for teachers. Look him up at http://www.mise.org

    Reply
  40. Liz Rutherford
    Liz Rutherford says:

    I tried Mentos “Sours” tonight and they did not work as well as the Fruit Mentos. From what I have been reading…the original Mint Mentos work best..right?

    Reply
  41. Laura Phillips
    Laura Phillips says:

    I host a yearly block party in my neighborhood. This year I plan on having each kid on the block participate in the Mentos experiement and then later entering it in the science fair as a group in their elementary school. Would you or channel 9 be willing to sponsor us?

    Reply
  42. Steve
    Steve says:

    Laura – I’d love to see pictures from your block party. I’m sure it will be great. Since I’m not affiliated with the Mentos folks or Coca-Cola, I don’t know how we would sponsor it. My best advice is to run to Costco and stock up on bulk supplies of Mentos and Coke.

    Reply
  43. Frank
    Frank says:

    Wow, this is a great experiment, I can’t believe Mentos and Diet Coke haven’t shut this craziness down yet! It seems like everybody is talking about this, I guy from my book club sent me this link http://www.Cokementos.com, pretty good at showing the top experiments, enjoy everybody!

    Reply
  44. Dr. Destructo
    Dr. Destructo says:

    Neat experiment, but I’ve a question: what becomes of teh Mentos? Do they dissolve? Partially? Completely? Inquiring minds need to know :^)

    Reply
  45. Steve
    Steve says:

    Dr. Destructo — If you take a look at the Mentos right after the reaction, they look almost unharmed – even still good to eat. If you leave them in the soda, they’ll eventully dissolve. We found it interesting to discover that you can reuse used Mentos. Right after the eruption, we emptied a the bottle, recovered the Mentos and dropped them into a new bottle of soda… with equally good results. Hmmm… very interesting.

    –Steve

    Reply
  46. Brittany, Victoria, and Leigh- Anne
    Brittany, Victoria, and Leigh- Anne says:

    We tried this and I got hit in the chin and now me and Leigh- Anne are totally soaked. Ahhh my new dress!! Super fun and curious about what would happen if we chugged a bottle of diet coke and ate a handful of mentos?!?!!?

    Cheers,
    Brittany, Victoria (BFFL) & Leigh- Anne

    Reply
  47. cody
    cody says:

    i have tried this recently, and i wanted to try and make the rocket stream fly higher and longer, the best result that i got was from emptying out about 1/4th of the diet coke out, drilling small holes through the center of the mentos, and putting a string or fishing line throgh about 5 mentos. then you drill a small hole in the cap and put the mentos on the string under the cap and seal it. o, and you put gum on the end of the string so they wont fall off, now, you can either let the string go, (doesn’t work as well) or the better way and pull the string out fast, … i find this very fun for water fights and such because you can pick it up safely and shoot it at people, do it fast tho because this only lasts about 5 seconds… have fun!

    Reply
  48. Alexandria
    Alexandria says:

    I really Like this project. i willbe doing this for my class when they will be talking about animals and chips. i will be the only one doing a science experiment. i hope it will blow their socks off. Wish me luck!!!!!!!:)

    Reply
  49. Susan
    Susan says:

    Look at the date – it’s September 5, 2005 – a year before the craze even hit. Reading the other posts on the blog, it looks like Spangler and the teachers in his science institutes were doing this back in 1999 or 2000. I read an article in the Toronto Sun about Steve Spangler and how teachers have been doing this for a long time. He wasn’t the first person to do it, but he’s the one who inspired all of those videos out there.

    Reply
  50. Kerry
    Kerry says:

    He’s the guy that started it. Look at the date of the post – back in 2005. I watched his first video on 9news.com back in 2000 or 2001.

    Reply
  51. Alex
    Alex says:

    The mentos and coke geyser. Nice. However, what if your out of gas, the nearest mall is five miles away, and all you have is cans of diet coke and lots of antiacid? well if that is all you have, then have no fear just pop 2 tablets in and you have a really powerful geyser! Trust me. I know. I was under lockdown for not having the balloon on in time. The kitchen was a HUGE mess. Try it some day. But dont forget like i did. Do it OUTSIDE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Reply
  52. Kody Bryson
    Kody Bryson says:

    Hi im kody,i was wondering if any 1 could give me some advice on an diet coke and mentos science project you can reach me at my email.

    Reply
  53. Trisha
    Trisha says:

    Lol. Thats funny, me and my friend are doing this for a science experiment in January…now i get to watch a lot of cool vids and get advice!!!!! and i know to use diet. 🙂

    Reply

Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] You’ll hear the story of how in September 2005, on Spangler Science Monday on NBC, Steve did one of his experiments on live TV with his co-anchor. The experiment was to drop a Mentos candy into a bottle of diet coke. The co-anchor he was working with didn’t move away fast enough and she got covered in soda. This is how he wrote a post called “News Anchor Gets Soaked, Science Experiment Goes Awry.” […]

  2. […] You’ll hear the story of how in September 2005, on Spangler Science Monday on NBC, Steve did one of his experiments on live TV with his co-anchor. The experiment was to drop a Mentos candy into a bottle of diet coke. The co-anchor he was working with didn’t move away fast enough and she got covered in soda. This is how he wrote a post called “News Anchor Gets Soaked, Science Experiment Goes Awry.” […]

  3. […] You’ll hear the story of how in September 2005, on Spangler Science Monday on NBC, Steve did one of his experiments on live TV with his co-anchor. The experiment was to drop a Mentos candy into a bottle of diet coke. The co-anchor he was working with didn’t move away fast enough and she got covered in soda. This is how he wrote a post called “News Anchor Gets Soaked, Science Experiment Goes Awry.” […]

  4. […] You’ll hear the story of how in September 2005, on Spangler Science Monday on NBC, Steve did one of his experiments on live TV with his co-anchor. The experiment was to drop a Mentos candy into a bottle of diet coke. The co-anchor he was working with didn’t move away fast enough and she got covered in soda. This is how he wrote a post called “News Anchor Gets Soaked, Science Experiment Goes Awry.” […]

  5. […] – bookmarked by 2 members originally found by vektor330 on 2008-07-25 News Anchor Gets Soaked!Mentos Experiment Sets a New Record […]

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