Why Does Soda Explode When You Put Mentos in It?

Why Does Soda Explode When You Put Mentos in It?

The explosion created when soda and Mentos are combined occurs because of nucleation, a process in which the carbon dioxide in the soda attempts to latch onto the outside of the Mentos, creating a huge amount of pressure. This pressure forces the soda to explode out the top of the bottle.

The carbonation in a bottle of soda exists because of a large amount of carbon dioxide forced into the small space of the bottle. The carbon dioxide in the soda is attracted to bumps or nooks to connect to; these connection spots are called "nucleation sites." When Mentos are dropped into the bottle of soda, they offer a huge number of nucleation sites in a very small space. The exteriors of Mentos are coated in a rough layer of sugar, which provides numerous sites to which the carbon dioxide can link.

As the volume of pressurized carbon dioxide rapidly rushes toward the Mentos, it creates a dense concentration of carbon dioxide bubbles around the Mentos. As the Mentos continue to sink, this reaction continues throughout the bottle. This pressure rapidly reaches a point that overwhelms the capacity of the bottle, forcing a stream of soda through the opening.

The physical reaction between soda and Mentos depends on the specific ingredients used. Diet sodas tend to produce a stronger reaction, which is typically attributed to the higher carbonation levels in these options.