Mentos Eruption

A Mentos eruption (also known as a Mentos-and-Coke geyser) has become a backyard science experiment fad. It also has become an internet meme with videos of Mentos eruptions popping up all over the internet on sites like YouTube and Google Video.

The fad centers around pouring several Mentos candies into a bottle of cola resulting in an eruption a few feet high. This reaction occurs because of the rapidly expanding carbon dioxide inside once the Mentos are introduced to the carbonation.

While there are various theories being debated as to the exact scientific explaination of the phenomenon, many scientists claim that it is a physical reaction and not a chemical one. Water molecules strongly attract each other, linking together to form a tight mesh around each bubble of carbon dioxide gas in the soda. To form a new bubble water molecules must push away from one another. It takes extra energy to break this surface tension. So, in other words, water resists the expansion of bubbles in the soda.

When Mentos are dropped into soda, the gelatin and gum arabic of the candy dissolves and breaks the surface tension. This disturbs the water mesh, so that it takes less work to expand and form new bubbles. Each Mentos candy has thousands of tiny pits all over the surface. These tiny pits are called nucleation sites, perfect places for carbon dioxide bubbles to form. As soon as the Mentos enter the soda, bubbles form all over the surface of the candy.

Also the Mentos candies are heavy and sink to the bottom of the bottle so when all this gas is released, it literally pushes all of the liquid up and out of the bottle in a blast of soda.

On the August 9th, 2006 episode of Mythbusters, a hit TV show on the Discovery Channel, this reaction was studied. They concluded that the caffeine, potassium benzoate, aspartame, & CO2 gas contained in the diet coke and the gelatin & gum arabic ingredients of the mentos all contribute to the geyser effect. In addition to the ingredients of each reactant having an effect, The Mythbusters theorized that the physical structure of the mentos was the most significant contributor to the geyser effect. When a flavored mentos with a smooth waxy coating was tested in carbonated water no reaction occured, whereas a standard mentos added to carbonated water formed a small geyser, thus reaffirming their theory of the mentos facilitating nucleation.

Mentos is a popular brand of candy sold in many markets across the world by the Perfetti Van Melle Corporation. Mentos was first produced in the Netherlands during the 1950s. The candies are small oblate spheroids, with a slightly hard exterior and a soft, chewy interior. They are sold in rolls which typically contain 14 candies, although the new "Sour Mix" flavor contains only 11. Certain flavors are sold in boxes in the United States, and the rolls in three and six-packs. The slogan of Mentos is "the freshmaker".

Mentos is available in a variety of flavours, the most common being mint and mixed fruit, an assortment of orange, strawberry, and lemon. Mentos first appeared as a liquorice-flavored candy which can still be purchased in the Netherlands as "Drop Mentos". New flavors were initially test-marketed in the Netherlands and throughout Europe, but more recently, most flavors are available worldwide.

Other flavours include green apple, cinnamon, strawberry, tropical fruit ( which contains a mix of strawberry, orange, and lemon flavors), grape, wintergreen, grapefruit, peach, spearmint and strawberry yoghurt. Another version of the mint flavor, known as "Strong Mentos", is sold in the Netherlands, and is akin to an Altoid. Also currant and two versions of black licorice flavored Mentos are available in Europe. In the late 70s a sardine flavor was a miserable flop in the US and had sparse popularity in Europe. Chocolate Mentos were produced in 1989, but the flavor was discontinued. In 2006, the citrus mango flavor was introduced to the Japanese market. A new product line, Mentos Sours have recently become available in the United States, featuring Watermelon, Green Apple, and Lemon flavors.

In August 2005, Mentos began running TV ads announcing a new sugar-free variety of the candy which comes in "mixed berries" and "cool mint" flavors sweetened with Splenda.

One source of popularity of Mentos can be attributed to its campy commercials, which debuted in late 1992 on American television. In the commercials, individuals facing various day-to-day dilemmas consume Mentos and are subsequently inspired to solve their problems at hand in a creative, often humorous fashion.

Dilemmas presented included a woman who breaks her shoe-heel and a man who gets paint on his new business suit after sitting down on a freshly-painted bench. After consuming a Mentos, the female character proceeds to break off the heel to her other undamaged shoe, and the man rolls around on the still-wet bench, creating a pinstripe pattern on his suit. These unusual behaviors are typically witnessed by nearby, sometimes antagonistic characters, and a roll of Mentos is boisterously displayed by the commercial's respective protagonist to the observer as an explanation for their actions.

Many North American viewers believed that the 1990s commercials, with their unfamiliar and rather naive style, had been imported -- perhaps from Northern Europe, the candy's home. But many of the commercials were actually filmed in the United States.

The commercials have been widely parodied in popular culture. In a vignette from an episode of Family Guy, John Wilkes Booth botches the assassination of Abraham Lincoln until assisted by a candy called "Mintos" which is presented with the Mentos slogan, "the freshmaker". The Foo Fighters' 1996 music video, Big Me, also parodied the Mentos commercials, using an imaginary candy called Footos. In this video, the methods employed to solve problems are virtually direct copies of those portrayed in the actual commercials, sans the final "commercial". There exist also a number of amateur-made parodies on the World Wide Web. Mentos were also parodied in the Leslie Nielsen movie Wrongfully Accused.

* A similar candy in the U.S., called "Chewz", is manufactured by Lance, Inc. Mentos fans have jokingly referred to this as the "anti-Mentos".

* Trebor Softmints and Softfruits, introduced in 1981 and sold in the UK and Ireland by Cadbury-Schweppes are also similar to Mentos, although with softer exterior coatings.

* A TV ad for Democratic Connecticut U.S. Senate candidate Ned Lamont featuring blogger Markos Moulitsas was re-cut by various bloggers into a parody of a Mentos commercial.

* Recent American commercials for Mentos have diverged from the widely-parodied format entirely, and feature a rendition of 2 Unlimited's No Limit.Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, with no Front-Cover Texts, and with no Back-Cover Texts.
Virtual Magic is a human knowledge database blog. Text Based On Information From Wikipedia, Under The GNU Free Documentation License. Copyright (c) 2007 Virtual Magic. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".

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