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Cool Science - Soda Can Shake

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Cool Science - Soda Can Shake

Why does shaking a soda result in a great explosion when it is opened and what causes a 2 Litre bottle of soda to go flat?

The fizz in soda is created by dissolved CO2 gas being released in the form of bubbles. In the factory the soda can is packed with more CO2 then can dissolve under normal atmospheric conditions. This is why you hear a fizzing noise when opening a soda as the excess CO2 escapes into the room.

Shaking a soda allows carbonic acid to mix with air molecules trapped in the bottle and releases CO2. When shaken, CO2 molecules form bubbles on the sides of the can, which can be observed simply by pouring a soda into a clear glass. When you open a shaken can the pressure in the can would go down and the volume of each bubble would increase. Plain and simple, if you want to keep your soda from going flat, don't shake it.

The secret to keeping your soda alive with plenty of fizz is to keep the soda cold. The higher the temperature, the less the CO2 molecules will dissolve. It's especially important to keep the bottle tightly sealed while it is out of the refrigerator since the higher temperature makes the gas want to leave the liquid. Keep it cold... keep the fizz.

The trick to avoid an explosion is to try and dislodge the bubbles from the side of the can so they can float to the top because gas is lighter than liquid. When this occurs, opening the can allows the CO2 to escape without forcing out any liquid with it. Snap the side of the can to dislodge the bubbles.

There is no guarantee that snapping the side of the can of diet soda will keep you from getting sprayed. There may be more CO2 or a unique reaction between the artificial sweetener, preservatives or carbonated water.

Experiment:
Vigorously shake a sealed can of soda.
Tap fingers on side of can. Turn the can and snap again. Snap the can at least six times before opening.
Open the Can!

Now that's cool science!

For more information visit http://sciencenorth.ca/thunderbay
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