For these experiments you will need the kit listed on the contents page in your box. You will also need the following –
- Sticky tape
- Bottle of fizzy drink (any will work – diet, zero sugar or normal)
Making your mentos launcher
- Take your mentos launcher template and roll it from the long side.
- Measure it in the neck of a bottle, you could use your fizzy drink or an empty bottle. You want it to fill the neck of the bottle.
- Secure the ends with sticky tape.
- Tape down the edge to make sure there is no gaps.
Using your mentos launcher
Do this outside!
- Take the lid off your bottle of fizzy drink.
- Put the launcher just into the neck of the bottle, you don’t want it to touch the liquid. Secure it to the bottle using tape.
- Just above the tape, push your cocktail stick through the middle of the tube – this will catch your mentos! It should look like this –
- Drop in your mentos.
- Pull out the cocktail stick and take a big step back so that you don’t get soaked!
Whilst mentos may look smooth, they are actually covered in tiny bumps and cracks. When they are in your fizzy drink, the bubbles (made from carbon dioxide), attach onto the mentos and clump together, causing them to rush to the surface! Because the hole in the bottle is small, there is high pressure which creates the eruption that we see. This is why some volcanos have big eruptions that shoot into the air and some have smaller eruptions that bubble over the side, it all depends on the size of the crack in the earth!
Why not make more mentos launchers and try the experiment with different fizzy drinks to see which reacts best! Don’t throw away the rest of your fizzy drink because you will need it for the next experiment.
Re-fizzing your drink
Did you taste your fizzy drink after it erupted? If you did, you might notice that it didn’t taste very fizzy anymore! That’s because a lot of the carbon dioxide (the bit that makes it fizzy) came out in the eruption! This next experiment should put the fizz back in your drink.
- Pour your (not-so) fizzy drink into a cup.
- Add 1/2 teaspoon of citric acid.
- Add 1 teaspoon of baking powder.
- You should see your drink start to fizz again.
You have created more carbon dioxide by mixing an acid (citric acid) with an alkali (baking powder). Find out more about this in our sherbet experiment!
Making a fizzy drink
We’ve tried adding the fizz back to a fizzy drink, but now we are going to turn water into a tasty fizzy drink – no fancy equipment needed!
- Fill your cup 3/4 full with water.
- Pour in the pink sugar.
- Add 1/2 a teaspoon of citric acid.
- Add 2 teaspoons of baking powder.
- Stir and drink!
- If your drink is too sour or bitter, try gradually adding some more water to make it more dilute.
Note – Sugary drinks should be drunk in moderation (not all the time) and remember to brush your teeth!
From your kit you will need – citric acid, baking powder and icing sugar. You will also need a teaspoon and a bowl.
Sherbet is our favourite sweet because it is a very scientific sweet. It does a chemical reaction on your tongue! For this chemical reaction we will need an acid, an alkali and something to make it taste sweet!
- Put one teaspoon of citric acid into a bowl – this (if you hadn’t guessed), is your acid! It is VERY sour. If you want to taste some we recommend just tasting a tiny bit on it’s own, and make sure to wash your hands after you touch it as it would sting if it got in your eyes.
- Now add one teaspoon of baking powder. This is your alkali. It doesn’t really taste of anything on it’s own!
It is these two ingredients that will create the chemical reaction on your tongue. Acids and alkalis are opposites and when they are mixed in something wet, like your spit, they create bubbles of carbon dioxide – like in your fizzy drink!
- Add all of the icing sugar – this will make it taste a lot better and more like the sherbet you might have tried before!
- Mix it all up in your bowl. It’s ready! You could try dipping your finger in and licking it or using a lollipop.