A Homemade Geyser
As I write this article, I realize my family may very well be the last family in the world to combine Mentos with diet soda. We have seen it on television. We have read about it in magazines. We knew what to expect when the two ingredients combined. However, we did not know how much fun it would be!
My two oldest sons pooled their money and purchased three 2-liter bottles of inexpensive diet colas and three rolls of Mentos mints. They researched on the internet the best way to put the mints in the soda. With my husband’s help, they rigged up a very clever contraption using a small portion of a PVC pipe, yarn, and a Popsicle stick. Who needs to spend $4.95 on a special tube just for putting Mentos in a soda bottle when you have ingenious men in your house?
The whole family went outside in the front yard. The boys used a stack of empty blue tubs as a base in which to stand the bottle. They rigged up their pipe invention and did a dry run to test its functionality. It passed. Jake was elected to do the honors on our first attempt. Everyone else backed up and I was posed with the camera. He counted down and pulled the string. The Mentos dropped in the bottle and immediately a geyser of diet drink was blowing in my front yard. Incidentally, diet soda leaves a less sticky mess than regular soda, which is why we purchased diet. The height of the geyser was impressive as it soared much higher than our 12′ high oleanders.
Clayton pulled the string on the second attempt, which brought equally impressive results. We learned that it is a physical reaction with surface tension and not a chemical reaction. Most importantly, the diet soda and Mentos experiment was fun! It was fun to see my two oldest boys, who are usually at each other’s throats, working together. It was fun to see how they came up with their little invention. It was fun to have a diet cola geyser in the front yard. They are saving the other bottle and roll of Mentos for another time.
The roll of Mentos was $.99 and the 2-liter bottle of diet soda was $.68. So for less than $2.00, you can thrill any young child. If you haven’t tried this at home, I highly recommend it. If you already have then you can experiment with different variables, like the temperature of the soda. Does cold soda react the same as room-temperature soda? Do different kinds of soda have the same reaction? Creating a homemade geyser is cheap, easy, and fun.