A Moment of Science

From Fizz To Flat: The Science Of Soda Pop

"Soda", "pop", or "cola." There's a lot of science behind the fizz no matter what we call our beloved drink.

cold diet coke can

Photo: Tom (Flickr)

Soda Pop tastes better when it's been in the refrigerator.

While it might be socially acceptable for food lovers to discuss the care of the finest wines, or the best way to brew gourmet coffee, what if your favorite beverage happens to be soda pop?

Chances are a gourmet wouldn’t have a lot to say about this topic. Well, don’t worry. It’s A Moment of Science to the rescue, as we take a practical approach to the chemistry of fizz.

What Is Soda?

Soda is fizzy because the gas carbon dioxide, or CO2, is dissolved into the sweet, syrupy liquid. Without this carbon dioxide your drink would be flat and unpleasant.

Unfortunately, carbon dioxide molecules have a natural tendency to leave any liquid, popping through the surface and escaping forever as a gas. The trick to preparing the perfect pop, therefore, is to keep as much of this dissolved CO2 inside the liquid as possible.

Why Do We Put Soda In The Fridge?

One way to do this is to refrigerate your soda as cold as possible, although you don’t want to freeze it. When soda is cold, the carbon dioxide molecules have less energy to escape, and cold soda can hold more CO2.

That’s why soda that you buy cold will be fizzier than soda that’s been sitting unrefrigerated on the store’s shelves.

Extra Carbon Dioxide

Another strategy, which the soda bottler might do at the factory, is to load up the air at the top of the container with extra carbon dioxide, or increase the pressure of this gas.

This will make it harder for the CO2 to escape, and also increase the rate at which these molecules are returned to the soda.

  • http://fcoramirez.betaid.org/ Francisco

    Also, Soda Pop has carbon dioxide so when you open it for the first time, the pressure difference makes it loose some temperature. Funny how physics works

  • http://remediesforacnev.com/ Ally

    I agree with the author. Soda without CO2 will definitely make the drink plain. Diet coke is amazing since it is not only give you great taste like other carbonated drinks but also good at keeping you healthy. Another same type soda drinks by coca cola is coke zero. Both drinks are the 90% same to each other, low calories and good for health but what differentiate these two diet coke and coke zero is just the name. Diet coke tends to target the old generations and coke zero tends to target young generation and also man because you know, with name of DIET man will think it is girly and not so cool to them. whatever. The things diet coke and coke zero are good for health. Cheers~

    Ally

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