Pop Bottles Gone Wild
Maybe you've heard of the "Mentos n' Diet Coke" phenomenon lately, wherein a pack of Mentos is dropped into a 2-liter bottle of a carbonated drink in the interest of doing something obnoxious and funny.
I decided that my stupid stunt of the day would be trying this idea myself. I figured it would be a good opportunity to educate the kids on the principle of surface tension, and the potentially deadly effects of drinking too much pop and eating too much candy. "You never know what can happen kids. Your stomach could explode, killing you and leaving parts of your intestines in nearby trees." (Actually, none of that is true. I didn't tell the kids that, and I wasn't particularly interested in educating them about surface tension. I just wanted to try this.)
Conventional wisdom says you should use diet pop, since it has no sugar in it and thus dries to a dust that blows away. (As if anyone's going to spew pop all over the driveway and just leave it. No matter what I used, I planned to at least hose things down afterwards, diet or not.)
Anyway, I used Sam's Choice pop for this test, figuring it was just as good as the name-brand stuff for spewing. I stuck with the name-brand mints (Mentos, the Fresh Maker) as the... reagent or whatever.
I set the pop bottle in the driveway, well away from the house. I set up the camera a safe distance from the bottle, and recruited Alissia as the camera operator.
Proper detonation requires that as many Mentos come in contact with the coke as possible as quickly as possible. So, I rolled a piece of paper around a Mentos tube to get the proper diameter and taped the paper into a tube shape. Then I stacked the Mentos in the tube. I kept the bottom of the tube closed with an index card held over the end. This way, I could pull the index card out and drop all of the Mentos into the pop within about 2 seconds.
The camera rolled, and I let the Mentos drop into the bottle. The result is what you'll see when you click on the link to download the video (below).
In my opinion, the results were less than spectacular. The stuff shot up perhaps 6 feet into the air. Big Woop. There are other videos of this experiment on the web. Of those that I saw, Diet Coke and/or Diet Pepsi were used as the fuel. One of them made a horrible mess of a TV newswoman, and another totally splattered a car. It was cool. Mine? Lame. Next time, I'll just spend the extra 30 cents and get the real deal! You get what you pay for, I guess. Stupid Sam's Cola.
How does it work?
I'm no scientist, but I read somewhere that the "gum arabic" in the Mentos (which is what makes them chewy) breaks the surface tension on the CO2 bubbles in the pop, making them explode all at once. (Hmmmm... Something arabic, causing things to explode... How ironically non-ironic.)
Anyway, the Mentos all ended up in the bottom of the bottles with their white skins missing. Andrew ate a few and said they were pretty good. The dog drank some of the pop, which was totally fizzless by this time. I hosed the driveway down, concluding today's stupid stunt.
If you want to watch the video, here's the link to it. (Coke-spewing movie) Enjoy it...