Mentos + Soda = Explosion

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image Given the urban legend about kids eating pop rocks and soda, and then having their stomachs explode, I wouldn't have believed that mixing Mentos and soda could cause such a violent reaction. But after watching the video posted on WLTX's website, I do. (You need Windows Media Player to view it, and I had to click the "Trouble Viewing" button to make it work.) To summarize what the video shows, three Mentos are dropped into a bottle of soda, causing a geyser of soda to shoot up about three or four feet high out of the bottle. This really makes me wonder what would happen if you drank a can of soda and then downed a pack of Mentos. Personally I'm not planning to find out. I'm sure it wouldn't kill you, but I imagine it would fizz up into your throat and nose. WLTX provides this scientific explanation for the phenomenon:

Mentos contains a chemical known as ARABIC GUM (this is the ingredient that makes the mint "chewy"). This ingredient causes the surface tension of the water molecules to break even more easily, releasing more carbon dioxide gas at an astounding rate! .....The gas causes pressure to rapidly build inside the bottle which thrusts the soda upwards in a wonderful fountain-like BLAST!


Posted on Fri Sep 23, 2005


if anyone still reads these, then consider this:
the Aspartam theory is false, because this works with club soda, and for many, many other reasons,
the gum arabic is out, since that's the stuff that makes mentos chewy, and once the outer shell disolves the reaction stops, and the nucleation can't be, because even once the scratches and imperfections have been disolved, the reaction continues (this occurs some time between when the fizz is completely gone, and most of the eruption is over. also, if you want to try using the mentos and soda in your stomach, you would have to swallow the metos whole, i think. i don't want to try it, so i'm not exactly sure..... but i think the reaction is caused by somthing in the outer shell.
Posted by mr_nobody  in  unknown  on  Sat Mar 04, 2006  at  10:31 PM
okay so me and a couple of friends are thinking about doing this for a science experiment for school!
i have a couple questions...

1. does the drink have to be 'diet coke' or can it be any kind of carbonated drink?

2. i read that it has to be a 2-liter bottle and cant be the smaller bottles is that true...if so why??

3. and i just tried it in my back yard with 'coke' it WAS pretty cool but it didnt explode very high..or at all! it kinda just dripped over the a volcano...but it went everywhere...i was waiting for it to shoot up really far! did it not shoot up because it wasnt 'diet coke' or a '2-liter bottle'??

please respond...ASAP!! i need this very soon!
Posted by the unknown  in  eh..i forgot  on  Tue Mar 07, 2006  at  03:11 PM
Test all sizes, diets, and non-diet, Coke, Pepsi.

I would say that it only does it with certain sizes due to the quantity of certain ingredients. But then again, Im not a scientist. Good Luck
Posted by Carter S  on  Tue Mar 07, 2006  at  05:24 PM
Here is the science behind it:

The reason why Mentos work so well is two fold - Tiny pits on the surface of the candy and the weight of the candy. 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 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
Posted by Jim  in  Hong Kong  on  Sun Mar 26, 2006  at  01:11 PM
You are AWESOME. Who would ever even think to that in the first place. Keep doing what you are doing and make us happy, not like you have to try or anything.
Posted by might  in  Louisville OH, 44641  on  Tue Mar 28, 2006  at  02:40 PM
Yes, the nucleation sites are the cause. For an even more violent reaction you could pour granulated sugar into the soda through a funnel. Nucleation sites are also what causes bubbles to form on the sides of glasses containing beer or soda.
Posted by Chris pine  in  Norfolk, VA  on  Thu Apr 06, 2006  at  09:39 AM
i think this iz cool me and my friend were going to do this as a sceince fair project after we saw this but we changed are mined and we did this outside of school and made money off it! excaim
Posted by Alex  in  Indaina  on  Fri Apr 07, 2006  at  10:03 PM
well thax for da add i really like da pop thing! grin LOL cheese rolleyes wink zipper
Posted by Alex  in  Chicago  on  Fri Apr 07, 2006  at  10:06 PM
this is a very cool experiment!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:sick:
Posted by Joe  in  Dogriver  on  Wed May 17, 2006  at  02:43 PM
it would be funny to see some one throwing up soda and mentos!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! excaim grin rolleyes rolleyes
Posted by thatsstupidandyousuck  in  St. Veronica  on  Wed May 17, 2006  at  02:48 PM
Posted by duckdodgers7  in  Runescape  on  Wed May 17, 2006  at  02:55 PM
The explanation for this reaction is exactly as explained, it is the arabic gum that decreases the surface tension and intermolecular reactions between the atoms contained in soda. This in turn releases the CO2 that was pressurized into the liquid. Diet pepsi works the best, the reason for this? compared to all other carbonated sodas, diet pepsi has the most carbonation. The fact that mentos have small imperfections is but an aside that might help very little, but not in any quantifiable way as any object... ANY object on the molecular level (the level CO2 operates on) has small imperfections.
Posted by ArlenS  in  MI  on  Thu May 18, 2006  at  06:31 PM
It's not Mentos per se that cause this reaction (and definitely not gum arabic, which is located underneath the Mentos shell), though as indicated above, Mentos are covered with microscopic pits to provide nucleation sites which attract carbon dioxide.

You can get an almost identical reaction by pouring coarse salt (about a tablespoon) into the top of the bottle. The resulting gusher is about five to six feet high, whereas a Mentos reaction can be in excess of 12 feet. My educated guess is that the height difference results from the Mentos sinking quickly to the bottom of the bottle, causing the trapped carbon dioxide throughout the bottle to rush to the bottom, resulting in a tremendous pressure differential.

However you look at it, it's a fun, safe experiment that gets a great reaction every time.
Posted by Squibner Welch  in  Sacramento, CA  on  Thu May 25, 2006  at  03:37 PM
I suppose if you wanted to know if it related to the menthanol, you could drop some menthanol vicks vapor rub into soda and see if that worked, or drop cinnamon mentos into the soda...I've no idea what's in mentos, so I can't even suspect what would cause it to react. Although, the arabic gum theory sounds plausable.
Posted by Bryce Loop  in  Willits, California  on  Mon May 29, 2006  at  11:34 PM
I heard a story on NPR saying it wasn't the aspartame or the gum arabic. They said it was the rough surface of the Mentos, which makes sense. With any soda, CO2 comes out of solution from Carbonic Acid (H2CO3). The dissolved CO2 makes the Carbonic Acid, but there is quite a bit of CO2. So much that CO2 comes out of solution immediately once you open the soda bottle. Warm soda and rough surfaces expedite this process. M&M's don't work very well because they are much smoother. This is NOT a hoax because eating Diet Coke and Mentos together is not the same as putting a TON of Mentos in a WHOLE BOTTLE of Diet Coke. Have you ever burped after eating the two? Makes sense doesn't it. Of course you're not going to explode, you can release the small amount of CO2 you've ingested with no problem.
Posted by Tim Dingman  in  Sudbury, MA  on  Tue May 30, 2006  at  09:19 PM
We did a 2 liter Diet Pepsi last week here at work with 20 Mentos, and got about 8 or 9ft. We did a Diet Dr Pepper about 20 mins ago with only 13 Mentos (we're running out) and got about 12ft. Diet Dr. Pepper works *much* better than Diet Pepsi.

We're trying Mug Root Beer tomorrow (mainly because I want to drink the minty Root Beer remnants afterwards; mint root beer tastes great), but I doubt we'll get as high as the Dr. Pepper achieved.

We also are talking about a version of the experiment using actual beer.
Posted by Tim  on  Wed May 31, 2006  at  04:21 PM
You know, I don't think I saw one person even close to being right.

Anyone of you could've wiki'd it, or even just googled it, but none of you did.

In the future guys, either do some research before you speak, or pass grade 8.
Posted by Mike  on  Sun Jun 04, 2006  at  01:19 PM
make the pepsi really cold prefferably at 33 degrees farenhieght because carbon is stored tightly ay cold temp ,so colder means fizzyer
Posted by bob  in  bob  on  Thu Jun 15, 2006  at  03:37 PM
i drank a 2 liter bottle of diet coke and swallowed two mentos. Results: fizz came threw my throat and nose and i was in the hospital for 2 days and i have to take medication for three months. it was so worth it!
Posted by what the beep  in  bronx, ny  on  Sat Jun 17, 2006  at  09:18 PM
This is the real deal! Diet Coke and Mentos really does react. Have a look at to see more. We tried it ourselves and it worked, surprisingly enough.
Posted by Matt Miller  in  USA  on  Mon Jun 19, 2006  at  11:58 PM
tongue wink sick! this was cool!! cheese gulp
Posted by Julie  in  NH  on  Wed Jun 21, 2006  at  05:15 PM
I still can
Posted by Kyle  in  Denver  on  Thu Jun 22, 2006  at  12:41 PM
I did this with a 1.5 liter bottle of Diet Coke and some Watermelon Mentos. Absolutely nothing happened. Was it 1.5 liter vs. 2.0 liters, or Diet Coke vs. Diet Pepsi, or Watermelon Mentos vs. Mint Mentos that caused it to fail?
Posted by quentinboggs  in  trenton  on  Sat Jun 24, 2006  at  02:32 PM
we put mentos in diet coke today at our science camp.It was awesome!!! I did it when i got home. But i got in trouble because i used my mama's diet coke. LOL
Posted by Jamie  in  Dekalb, Mississippi  on  Mon Jun 26, 2006  at  03:22 PM
NEED TO KNOW ASAP PLEASE oops sorry for the CAPS it was locked
Posted by alec  on  Sun Jul 02, 2006  at  04:54 PM
BE CAREFUL WITH THIS EXPERIMENT!! I watched my friend drop a pack of Mentos into a bottle of Dr Pepper, quickly put the cap on and shake it. The bottle exploded in his hands and he had to be taken to the hospital. Tiny bits of plastic got in his eye and neck. If you do the experiment as shown on the video, then you should be ok but for goodness sakes don't try to cap the bottle once the mentos are in!
Posted by Charlie  in  Arlen, TX  on  Mon Jul 03, 2006  at  03:53 PM
I have a feeling that it's either the Carbon dioxide in the softdrinks or the aspartame or whatever makes the diet beverage "diet". The one way to clear up the latter condition is to test it out on non diet softdrinks and see how the reaction goes. if it still happens then we know it has to do with the CO2 and how it reacts to whatever is in/comprises the mentos. If not then we know it's a particular chemical/family of chemicals in diet beverages that helps cause the reaction to take place.
Posted by Wisenboi  in  Toronto, Ontario, Canada  on  Mon Jul 17, 2006  at  06:55 AM
The best explanation that I could find...

Several people theorized that a substance called gum arabic in the Mentos breaks the surface tension of the soda, allowing the carbon dioxide bubbles to escape rapidly. This explanation doesn
Posted by umbreon27  in  mythic islands  on  Tue Jul 18, 2006  at  12:55 PM
Many scientists claim that the Mentos phenomenon is a physical reaction, not a chemical one. 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." In other words, water "resists" the expansion of bubbles in the soda.

When you drop the Mentos into the soda, the gelatin and gum arabic from the dissolving candy break the surface tension. This disrupts the water mesh, so that it takes less work to expand and form new bubbles. 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 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. You can see a similar effect when cooking potatoes or pasta are lowered into a pot of boiling water. The water will sometimes boil over because organic materials that leach out of the cooking potatoes or pasta disrupt the tight mesh of water molecules at the surface of the water, making it easier for bubbles and foam to form.

So in essence it is both the suface and the gum arabic.
Posted by hollar at your boy  in  Dallas, tx  on  Wed Jul 26, 2006  at  08:08 AM
I gotta try this.
Posted by Vitaliy  in  SLC  on  Tue Aug 08, 2006  at  04:07 PM
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