Chemistry Experiments for Kids, General, Kitchen Science, Science Experiments

Soda Bottle Volcano

Soda Bottle Volcano

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Making a soda bottle volcano is a classic science experiment that doubles as a great excuse to make an explosive mess. Read on for instructions on making a make a soda bottle volcano with soda and Mentos!

  • Ingredients:
  • 2-liter Soda bottle (we found that Club Soda worked great but you could also use any other type of soda).
  • Mentos
  • Construction paper or index cards to roll into a tube
  • Tape

Soda Bottle Volcano

Directions:

Soda Bottle Volcano

Step 1: Create a tube as shown in the pictures slightly larger than the size of the Mentos pieces.

Step 2: Cut out a square piece of paper (or use an index card) to cover the soda bottle top.

Step 3: Removed the soda bottle cap and place the flat index card/square paper over it.

Soda Bottle Volcano

Step 4: Place the tube on top of the flat index card/square paper and fill with Mentos.

Soda Bottle Volcano

Step 5: Make sure the tube and soda bottle opening are aligned and quickly remove the flat card.

Step 6: The Mentos drop into the soda liquid and begin to react! Stand back as you may get wet!

Tips:

  • Diet Coke tends to work better than other carbonated drinks because some ingredients react more violently with the Mentos. It’s also easier to clean up, as diet soft drinks don’t contain sugar, so the residue is less sticky and doesn’t attract as many insects.
  • Getting all the Mentos to fall in the bottle simultaneously is quite hard. If done incorrectly, the volcano will only rise a few inches or so. Practice getting the Mentos to drop simultaneously a few times before wasting your bottle of soda.
  • Why does the Mentos method work? While there is considerable debate over how and why, here’s the hypothesis: 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.” When you drop the Mentos into the soda, the gelatin and gum arabic from the dissolving candy break the surface tension. 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 Mentos hit soda, bubbles form all over the surface of the candy. And, the fact that the Mentos candies sink to the bottom of the bottle gives a double-whammy. When all this gas is released, it literally pushes all the liquid up and out of the bottle in an incredible soda blast.
  • If you do experiment, it’s helpful to have a sink nearby!

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