Before You Start

ACTIVE TIME:
20-30 minutes

TOTAL PROJECT TIME:
20-30 minutes

KEY CONCEPTS:
carbonation, physical reactions, gases

Introduction

Have you ever seen the Diet Coke® and Mentos® experiment, which is all over the Internet, and wondered what makes the reaction work? You might think that there is some ingredient in a Mentos candy causing a chemical reaction with the soda, like the way baking soda reacts with vinegar. But the amazing eruption that takes place when Mentos are dropped into Diet Coke is not a chemical reaction at all! Instead it is a physical reaction. That means that all of the pieces of the reaction are there, but that they are simply re-arranged. And changing some factors may cause a larger or smaller physical reaction to take place — see for yourself!

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By Teisha Rowland, PhD

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