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A fireworks alternative and experiment for the kids

Some places have cancelled fireworks this week, but this experiment will let you and the kids make a safe explosion in your backyard.

The Fourth of July is right around the corner. Unfortunately, many places have had to cancel celebrations due to the Coronoavirus. 

There are still some ways for you to celebrate and have fun with the kids over the holiday weekend.

One option is to make explosions using Diet Coke and Mentos. This experiment is very easy to do and a fun way to make a mess in the backyard, while learning about chemistry and science as well.

All you need for this experiment is:

  • A 2 liter bottle of diet coke
  • Mentos

To make an explosion occur, simply drop the Mentos into the soda bottle. The more Mentos you are able to drop in, the higher and bigger the explosion of soda will be.

Credit: WLTX

Now for the science behind the explosion.

The Diet Coke has carbon dioxide gas in the drink that is mixed with the water under the pressure of the can. When you pour soda in a glass, the bubbles you see on the side of the glass are is the carbon dioxide gas escaping.

The Mentos act as a nucleation spot for the carbon dioxide gas to form on in the soda bottle. It is able to create so much gas in such a short period of time because of the rough surface of the candy.

The rapid formation of gas as the carbon dioxide bubbles form creates the explosion of soda out of the bottle.

The more Mentos you add to the bottle, the more bubbles that form and therefore the bigger the explosion.

This is similar to a process we see in the atmosphere every day. Particles of dust or dirt floating in the sky act as surfaces for water molecules to form on. While it does not lead to an explosion, if you get enough of these cloud condensation nuclei, as they are called, you get a cloud!

If you want to try this experiment at home with your kids, you can also try changing sodas to see if one works better than another. 

Another hypothesis you could test is if there are other candies or gum that do a better job at creating the explosion or not. 

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