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Diet Coke and Mentos, also known as Coke Geyser or Diet Coke and Mentos eruption, is the practice of dropping Mentos brand mint candies into a two-liter bottle of Diet Coke, causing the soda to foam at a rapid rate and spew into the air. While other carbonated beverages or similar candies may be used for the experiment, the combination of Diet Coke and Mentos is commonly regarded as the best recipe for maximum output. Due to its spectacular results and minimal cost, Diet Coke and Mentos eruptions became a popular subject on internet video sites as well as in the mainstream media in the 2000s.
The Diet Coke and Mentos experiment as an internet phenomenon began taking off in June 2006, when Fritz Grobe and Stephen Voltz of EepyBird uploaded a YouTube video demonstrating the fusion of 200 liters of Diet Coke and more than 500 Mentos mints. The video was shot in one take on April 29th, 2006 and uploaded to their personal website on June 3rd. Within 16 hours, the video had been watched 14,000 times. It was reposted on YouTube on June 14th, 2006, where it has garnered 15,340,667 views as of July 2012.
One of the earliest demonstrations of the Diet Coke and Mentos geyser in the mainstream media was done by Lee Marek, a chemistry professor from the University of Illinois at Chicago, on the Late Show with David Letterman on September 14th, 1999. Throughout the 2000s, Physics teacher Steve Spangler appeared on several local news stations demonstrating the eruptions, which are available for viewing on his website.
Within 12 days of upload, Grobe and Voltz’s video broke a million views and throughout the following month of July 2006, they were interviewed by the Late Show with David Letterman, Late Night with Conan O’Brien, NPR’s All Things Considered and the Today Show. Mentos’ parent company Perfetti Van Melle USA went on to sponsor the duo’s sequel videos in which they staged a chain eruptions of more than 250 Diet Coke bottles in October 2006 (below left) and a world record attempt for the largest number of geysers set off at once in the same location with more than 500 bottles of Diet Coke (below right) on May 24th, 2007. Grobe and Voltz’s world record setting demonstration in 2007 was eventually broken by a simultaneous eruption of 2,865 geysers during an event organized by Perfetti Van Melle on October 17th, 2010, in Manila, Philippines.
Other instances of the experiment have been featured on Gizmodo, Snopes, Scientific American and eBaum’s World. Tumblr users share photos of personal experiments with the tag “diet coke and mentos” and a Facebook fan page for the combination has more than 8100 likes as of July 2012.
As of July 2012, there are more than 16,000 results for “diet coke and mentos” on YouTube.
On August 9th, 2006, Mythbusters aired an episode dedicated to finding out whether or not Diet Coke and Mentos would cause a person’s stomach to explode. They found that since the soda warms as it travels down one’s esophagus, the gas vaporizes into a negligible amount that would not react with the Mentos candies.
“Pork and Beans”
Coke and Mentos eruptions were featured in the music video for Weezer’s 2008 single “Pork and Beans” along with a variety of other YouTube celebrities including Chris Crocker, Tay Zonday and Gary Brolsma of Numa Numa fame.
How It Works
The Diet Coke geyser is created through nucleation, a process in which the carbon dioxide in the soda mixes with liquid sugar coating of Mentos candies. Upon dropping the Mentos into the soda bottle, the carbonated soda liquid clings to the candy’s shell, which has lots of microscopic bumps and nooks known as “nucleation sites,” and form bubbles around them. As the Mentos sink towards the bottom of the bottle, they create large amounts of pressure that causes the soda to gush out of the bottle. Though any soda can be used, (shown below, response in Perrier water, Coke, Sprite, and Diet Coke) the aspartame in Diet Coke creates the largest reaction due to the lower surface tension in the drink compared to that of Coke containing sugar.