Monday, May 7, 2012

Monday is Messy

It’s the first day of science week!  Let’s start it with a bang.  We love this experiment but it comes with a warning.  Warning this is very messy!

It’s a great experiment … to do outside.  Check out the video

You will need:
1.5l Bottle of L&P
Packet of Mentos
A4 sheet of card
Cocktail stick

  1. Make a cardboard tube.  About 4cm longer than a tube of mentos.  Thick enough to go round the Mentos loosely but also small enough to fit into the neck of the L&P bottle.
  2. Push the cocktail stick through the cardboard tube (see pic).
  3. Carefully place your tube on the bottle and fill it fill of Mentos.  Ensure that the cocktail stick keeps the Mentos from falling into the bottle.
  4. Clear the area, pull the cocktail stick out and run!  If you’re quick it helps if you take the cardboard tube with you.

The great thing about this experiment is that even scientists don’t fully understand it.  But here is a common understanding.

It has a lot to do with the Carbon Dioxide in the drink which is stored in the bottle under pressure. When you undo the lid for the first time you can hear a fizz and see the bubbles.  This is due to a change of pressure in the bottle.

When we add the Mentos they sink to the bottom.  On the way they seem to encourage the carbon dioxide bubbles.  This could be to do with the glucose and gums used in the Mentos.  The outside of the Mentos is rough and the bubbles cling to this textured surface.  It is the rapid expansion of the gas that pushes the drink out of the bottle.

There is a chemical reaction going on. But it is believed to be more of a physical reaction then a chemical reaction that cases this phenomenon.

This experiment is a real hit with kids and adults.  However, most have only seen it on YouTube.  We really encourage trying it for yourself to get the full effect.  We use it our ‘What’s the Matter’ Experience and it’s always a show stopper.  

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