What makes the Mentos-Diet Coke trick work

The American Journal of Physics has an article in the June issue about the physics of dropping Mentos into Diet Coke. The spectacular result depends on physical characteristics of the Mentos, not their chemical composition. Here’s an explanation from the 60-Second Science podcast.

5 thoughts on “What makes the Mentos-Diet Coke trick work

  1. Kids love it! I recommend the cheapest diet soda you can find, and do it outside on the lawn of course.

    When I was a kid I noticed how plain sugar does this, too.

    I’ve got a sand blaster (for prepping metal for epoxy) in the garage — I guess if I take it to some rocks or steel I ought to get some really good ‘mentos’ for the geyser!

  2. Similarly, I’ve heard there has been an increase in ‘explosive’ sparkling water bottles, where one opens an undisturbed bottle and it suddenly erupts in a geyser. Still not too common, but modern factory production and the use of plastics means that typically there are many fewer nucleation sites inside the bottle since it is so clean and smooth.

    I’ve only seen the ‘mythbusters’ show once and wasn’t too impressed — they did a very limited and simplistic experiment and determined the myth was busted.

    The same thing happened with regards to spontaneous human combustion until the real (ordinary and non-supernatural) explanation was demonstrated. That explanation had been ‘tested’ many times by folks like the mythbusters and ‘proven’ to be impossible.

    Until someone actually did it with a pig carcass.

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