Mentos Exploding Drink – The Hoax!
Can you freeze a Mento in an ice cube to play a practical joke?
It’s an e-mail that probably showed up in your inbox… Create an Exploding Drink! The prank is based on the widely known phenomenon of dropping Mentos chewy mints into soda to create an erupting geyser. Instead of just dropping the Mentos into soda, the pranksters suggest freezing a Mento in the middle of an ice cube. Serve your friend a refreshing soda drink and garnish it with the tainted ice cubes. When the ice cubes melt, the Mentos are exposed and the soda erupts everywhere.
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- A roll or box of MENTOS chewy mints
- An ice cube tray
- Diet or regular soda (diet soda is less sticky when you're cleaning it up!)
Fill an ice tray so that each section is half full of water and place the tray in the freezer.
Once all of the half-size ice cubes are frozen, place a Mento on top of each frozen cube.
Fill the tray to the top with water and freeze again.
It’s practical joke time! Serve your friend (or foe) a refreshing soft drink with three or four of the special ice cubes. When the ice melts, the Mentos are exposed to the carbonated drink and the eruption begins!
How Does It Work
The secret to the Mentos reaction is right on the surface of each chewy mint. If you could look at the candy under a microscope, you would discover that each Mentos 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.
As amazing as it would be to pull off this practical joke, you may have discovered that this entire idea is actually a hoax! That’s right, it doesn’t actually work. The science above is completely accurate when a Mentos is dropped directly into soda, however, there is one major change to the Mentos when it is frozen into the ice cube.
When the mint is placed in water, the surface dissolves and all of the tiny pits are filled in. This makes the surface smooth. Since you need a rough surface for the bubbles to attach to, the Mentos is no longer the perfect place for bubbles to form. There is no erupting reaction when the ice melts and the Mentos hit the soda, leaving your friends with nothing but a mint-flavored soda.
Take It Further
Try smoothing the surface of the Mentos in other ways. Try quickly dipping a Mentos in water and drying it with a hair dryer (be careful not to burn your fingers or melt the candy). Drop the modified Mentos into a glass of soda. Nothing happens.
If you’re very careful, you can use the hot air from a hair dryer to just barely melt the surface of the Mentos. Again, drop this modified Mentos into a glass of soda. Nothing happens.
These experiments lead us to another idea… What would happen if you completely melted a Mentos and poured the liquid into the soda? Do you get an erupting geyser? The lab rats respond with a big NOPE.
A special thank you to WIRED magazine for inspiring this hoax.