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How to Make a Soda Bottle Volcano
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Words cannot begin to describe the awesome eruption created from mixing Mentos candy and soda. Eruptions of up to 18 feet are possible if done correctly. Steve Spangler shares this experiment from his television show and a link to one of the first viral videos.

Things you'll need:

  • 2 liter bottle of soda (diet is preferable)
  • Roll or box of Mentos
  • Single piece of paper or index card
Go outside to the middle of a field, a huge lawn, or your garden. Bring a roll or box of Mentos (candy mints) and a 2-liter bottle of soda. Either diet or regular soda works for this experiment, but diet soda erupts higher (soda can get sticky when you're cleaning it up).

Open the bottle of soda carefully. Position the bottle on the ground so that it will not tip over.

Unwrap a whole Mentos roll. The goal is to drop all of the Mentos into the soda bottle simultaneously (it's trickier than it sounds so put in one if you like). One method for doing this is to roll a piece of paper into a tube (like a cardboard toilet paper roll) just big enough to hold the Mentos. Put a card under the roll and on top of the bottle top, so you just pull off the card and the candies will all drop in at once. Alternatively, use scotch tape to wrap around the Mentos, making a stack.

Warn spectators to stand back.

Drop all Mentos into the bottle at the same time and then run as fast as you can.

Watch the soda eruption. It's just like fireworks on the 4th of July. The spectators cheer in a chorus of oohs and ahhs!

To make a soda bottle spinner is basically the same as above except slightly more challenging.The effect is you will place a bottle on the ground add mentos and it will spin around spraying cola everywhere.First get a 2 liter bottle of cola (diet is the best)poke a hole in the lid just big enough for you to drop mentos in.This next bit has the be done fast,use the same technique for dropping mentos as above (using a test tube or paper tube and card)after doing that in a spit second place the botttle on the ground and watch it spin(depending on how you have done it might propel backwards instead)The alternative is wrapping the mentos in sellotape leaving the top and bottom free of tape though,this will make it slower for the mentos to desolve thus giving you more time plus you can make a smaller hole.Enjoy and try to involve your friends by playing Speedy Spin,a game in which the player who's bottle lasts the longest wins.


Tips and Warnings:

  • 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.
  • To easily drop all the mentos into the soda bottle at once, try using a nut and strong magnet. Place magnet on the outside of the neck of the bottle and drop the nut in the inside of the bottle neck, and the nut should remain in place. Stack your Mentos on top and when you're ready, remove the magnet, dropping all the Mentos at once.
  • Why does this 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 having trouble getting all of the Mentos into the bottle at once, place an index card over the bottle mouth and place your paper tube on the card. Then line up the tube over the hole and slide the card out.
  • Don't use a 3 or 1 liter bottle, as the neck to volume ratio is too large. It results in about a six inch tall fountain for the 3L and it will just foam over the top with a 1L bottle.
  • An alternative is drill a small hole through the cap, put a string through and tie 4 Mentos to the string's end that will go into the soda. Close the cap almost completely, just a little loose, shake the soda and toss it onto the ground, the bottle will jettison like no tomorrow. You have to be careful doing this because as it gets lighter it flies faster and farther. In a video you see one launch and hit the top of a building about 30 feet away!
  • Any carbonated diet soda will do, not just Diet Coke. Sprite, gingerale, and other generic sodas work just as well. Smaller bottles will not shoot as high as a 2 liter soda bottle. Only 3 Mentos per 2 liter bottle are needed to get a good volcano. Also, Certs mints work just as well as Mentos.
  • The show Mythbusters found that using just 3 White Mentos and a 2-liter bottle of Diet Coke produced the best volcanic action. Sour Mentos and other sodas produced a volcano, but the best one was with Diet Coke and 3 White Mentos. Salt, Certs, TicTacs and Smarties were not used or vetted. Stick with the proven winners.
  • You can also use Saran Wrap and smarties candy. Using a hard surface, concrete or something similar, take a small square of Saran Wrap and place it on top of the open diet Pepsi bottle. Gently push the Saran Wrap down so that you make a small pocket inside the bottle with some Saran Wrap left sticking out of the bottle. Put about two packages of smarties in the pocket then squeeze the Saran Wrap together and push the whole little package into the bottle. Put the cap on, shake it up throw in the air and watch the fun explode. If really lazy, just throw the wrapped smarties directly into the bottle and the higher you throw it the bigger the explosion. Getting the bottle to land on the cap you will get the best explosion possible.
  • A couple drops of liquid soap in the soda breaks the surface tension, therefore creating a bigger volcano.
  • If you drink soda and then eat Mentos, do not worry at all, the acid in your mouth and stomach will stop it from reacting with the soda in your belly.
  • If you do this you need a sink nearby.
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