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Fun With Mentos and Dr. Perky

June 11, 2009

I could just tell: he wasn’t going to let it go. I’d be in the car, the radio up, belting out a song mid-line, and hear his voice from the backseat.

 “So, all we need are some of those Mentos things…”

 As usual, it would take me a minute to catch up to him.

 “Ah…okay…?”

 “Do we have any root beer? Or Dr. Pepper?”

 “No…?” About that time it hit me. The Mentos Rocket. Or Geyser, or whatever you wanted to call it. Lawson has been obsessed with the idea of doing this thing ever since he heard about it. I’ve kind of ho-hummed the idea, thinking maybe he’d just forget about it, but apparently that was just not going to happen. So, with a mental sigh, I consigned myself to a trip to the grocery store.

 It was Mentos Time.

 …

 The actual event was something less than what I had anticipated. Lawson had built this thing up into something HUGE and AMAZING, so I was actually pretty excited, and maybe a little worried about covered in sticky, syrupy drink. I bought the cheapest soda I could find, Diet Dr. Perky, and a package of Mentos, and prepared the troops. Anne, my mother-in-law, would serve as videographer so I could help Autumn and Lawson with the actual dropping of the Mentos.

 Anne was a little hesitant about her part of the project. “I don’t know about this…” she kept saying. “I can’t really see anything. It’s not clear.”

 “It’s okay.” I said. “We’re here. It’s clear. Just hold the camera aimed in this direction.” She’s so cute. She kind of lopped off my head but that’s okay. I didn’t need it anyway. I’ll grow another one.

Autumn grew impatient with my direction and decided to drop the Mentos one by one into the soda—a Big NO-NO, as the drink begins to explode immediately, and the explosion is next to nothing. Big flop. Good thing I anticipated trouble and bought two Dr. Perkys.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cETIwUbyC10

 Take two. Autumn with the camera, me with the Mentos, Anne with the helpful direction. We had liftoff this time (of sorts), although I’m not quite certain what Autumn was doing with the camera. I think she was getting a little excited with the zoom or something, or jumping up and down…I don’t know. All I know is that I think next time I might use a tripod, and I’m very sorry if you get motion sickness from watching this video.

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BXYHN9uFGvM&feature=channel_page

And if you’re interested in conducting your own Mentos experiment, here’s how:

 HOW-TO

 To make a Mentos Geyser, you need a roll of Mentos and two-liter bottle of diet soda. You can use regular soda, but diet is less sticky, and according to all reports, seems to work better.

 1—

 Set up in as wide-open a space as possible, placing your soda in a stable spot on the ground to keep it from tipping over.

 2—

 Open the soda and place in its spout a piece of paper rolled into a funnel. This is so you drop the Mentos into soda as close to all together as possible.

 3—

 Get ready to run, then hold the Mentos over the funnel and release. Run!

 WHY?

 Why does this combination of candy and soda produce the reaction that it does? I don’t really know, but some scientists claim that it is a chemical reaction between the various ingredients. Most agree that is more likely a physical reaction. In unscientific terms, if something is dropped into a glass of soda, bubbles of carbon dioxide immediately form on the surface of the object. (Try it with salt!) As bubbles of carbon dioxide form, they disrupt water molecules, which push away from each other.

 When the Mentos are dropped into the soda, they’re heavy, and sink directly to the bottom of the bottle. The carbon dioxide bubbles that formed instantly on the surface of the candy rise, pushing all of the liquid up and out of the bottle in a geyser-like spume.

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. June 11, 2009 3:22 pm

    Sorry, I posted my comment under the wrong posting.

    Curses!

  2. Ellen permalink
    June 11, 2009 4:54 pm

    I get crazy with joy when I discover other families who love Steve Spangler’s Mentos Geyser experiment! My kids are nuts about him. After we signed up for Spangler’s Experiment of the Week, we’ve not had a boring day yet this summer! Granted, it’s just begun, but I anticipate an exciting season of scientific fun! Go here for more information and videos, etc, of the Mentos Geyser thing: http://www.stevespanglerscience.com/experiment/00000109

  3. June 11, 2009 5:56 pm

    Your MIL’s commentary on the first video TOTALLY made it hilarious. This kind of thing is right up our alley. I’ll let you know how it turns out. I’m just jealous that our generic equivalent or Dr. Pepper isn’t called “Dr. Perky”. I thought you were making that up until I saw it with my own eyes.

  4. hintonrae permalink*
    June 11, 2009 9:34 pm

    Ellen–thanks for the link! I’ve never actually heard of that, but we will definitely be checking it out. Sounds like fun.

    Gerb–I’m not that clever, but the Dr. Perky gets me everytime.

    And J–It’s OKAY that you left the comment on the wrong post, really. Everytime I hear my voice on tape I cringe because of that drawl, and Anne’s is even more pronounced. You just never know how redneck you really sound. It is what it is, I guess. And we have BOTH chiggers and fireflies. And ticks. And mosquitos (mosquitAHs). And cicadas. And all sorts of other creepy crawlies.

  5. jennspastic permalink
    June 12, 2009 12:45 am

    This was so cute! I never knew a soda would do that!

  6. hintonrae permalink*
    June 12, 2009 7:49 pm

    SpasticJenn–glad you enjoyed 😉 Try it out. Easy, as you can see, and tons of cheap giggles.

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