Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted)

If you were, you would know how to do fun things like what you see in this video (below the fold) using common kitchen objects. But no, you all opted to be business majors instead!

What’s happening here? When carbonated beverages and mentos candies are mixed together, they create a volcanic explosion. Can anyone write out the chemical equation for what is happening in this video?


  1. #1 skookumchick
    August 12, 2006

    Oh my god this is awesome. Mr. Skookumchick told me about this demo (he’s a chemistry prof) but it is so cool to see it in action. Such an elaborate setup! I want to go buy mentos right now. Note to those who wonder: apparently it works in regular Coke too, but then everything gets all sticky with the sugar. 😉

  2. #2 blackskimmer
    August 13, 2006

    it’s beautiful

  3. #3 Nathan W. Lindstrom
    August 13, 2006

    Already been explained. Sort of.

  4. #4 Orac
    August 13, 2006

    Mythbusters did a show about this recently and explained the mechanism resulting in the eruption.

  5. #5 manda
    August 13, 2006

    That Mythbusters episode was just on last night; what great timing!

  6. #6 Phila
    August 14, 2006

    I used to do it with Bit-O-Honeys and Squirt (or Schweppes’ Bitter Lemon).

  7. #7 Mel
    August 15, 2006

    I think that’s the best video I’ve seen yet.

  8. #8 Shalini
    August 16, 2006

    I did this back in high school, but somehow it didn’t seem that awesome then. Well, it does now.


  9. #9 The Disgruntled Chemist
    August 16, 2006

    Can anyone write out the chemical equation for what is happening in this video?

    Not really…it’s just a physical process. The rough surface of the Mentos provides plenty of nucleation sites for the CO2 to come out of solution, resulting in a geyser of carbon dioxide. Actually, just dumping sugar into a bottle of Coke will do the same thing.

    Oh, but don’t use Altoids, even though it looks like they’d be nice and rough, and would work well. They’re not heavy enough, so they float and only make foam on the top of the Coke. The weight of the Mentos assures that they nucleate CO2 all the way through the bottle.

  10. #10 The Disgruntled Chemist
    August 16, 2006

    I did a kind of extensive post about the whole thing back in April, by the way.

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