The Spangler Effect - Skateboard Soda Geyser Season 01 Episode 17

Uploaded by TheSpanglerEffect on 06.06.2012


STEVE: What do you get when you mix Mentos, Diet Coke, a
skateboard, 150 teachers in Oklahoma City, in an area
that's riddled by tornadoes?
I don't know, but we did it anyway.

I'm Steve Spangler, and I'm all about making science fun.
For the last 20 years, I've been teaching ways to turn
ordinary science experiments into unforgettable learning
I have an amazing team who will do whatever it takes to
affect the way people think about science.
And to do that I live by one motto.
Make it big, do it right, give it class.

Well, if you've never seen the Mentos and Diet Coke reaction,
where have you been living all this time?
It's OK.
I'll give you a 20-second crash course.
Soda by its very nature is packed with carbon dioxide and
it wants to come out when you open up the cap.
In fact, anything you drop inside will help that
carbonation come out.
Mentos have tiny little pits or craters on the outside.
They're called nucleation points.
It's the perfect place for carbon
dioxide bubbles to gather.
Because they're so heavy, when you turn it over and drop it
down inside, they fall to the bottom, the carbon dioxide is
released, and you get the perfect geyser.

It's perfect.
We have to thank Lee Marek, a chemistry teacher-- not only a
chemistry teacher, a great chemistry teacher-- from
Naperville, Illinois, who shared at a conference that if
you happen to use Mentos, it was a nice substitute for the
Life Savers.
So that's it.
That's how the Mentos started.
I can tell you that nobody really cared for
a long, long time.
It wasn't until September of 2005, the lovely Kim
Christensen, was in the backyard at KUSA 9 News, when
she happened to get a little soaked because she didn't move
out of the way.
Watch this.
Three, two, one, pull.

Tell me that that's not awesome?
KIM CHRISTENSEN: I did get it.
That's awesome.
STEVE: So sorry.
STEVE: Look at you, you are--
KIM CHRISTENSEN: It tastes kind of good.
STEVE: Wasn't that fun?
KIM CHRISTENSEN: Yeah, it was fun.
STEVE: That is the best I have ever seen.
Although this little test tube, called a baby soda
bottle, was a great dropping device for it, this created a
problem and that was not everybody
could drop them equally.
And when a producer from Discovery Channel called, that
happened to work on a little show called MythBusters, they
said we'd seen your thing with Kim Christensen, and saw that
it went up 18 feet, how do you make it go higher?
Well, there are a whole bunch of different ways to look at
it, but that prompted me to start thinking about a dropper
device that would allow everybody to drop equally.
This was a device my wife had purchased.
It was almost like PVC, but it made this hamper for the dirty
clothes, and as I looked at that pipe, I thought that's
probably about the size of the opening of a two-liter bottle.
Well, lo and behold, it was.
It fit perfectly.
Now if there was just a way to be able to attach it.
So this is where the two-liter cap came in-- a regular
two-liter cap-- and this went down inside like this.
And so now we had a way to be able to secure this in place,
which was perfect, so this could go on here like this.
And this was the first dropper device for the
Mentos geyser reaction.
More pressure, that's what I wanted.
I wanted it to go higher.
It should go 35 or 40 feet in the air.
It just needed to build up more pressure, and that's
where this little device saved the day.
It's basically the same idea.
It's just that there's no holes on the side because
there's a new little dropping mechanism, and you only have
to use three or four Mentos to get almost 35 feet in height
as the geyser blasts off.
This screws onto the top, and now your
geyser is ready to go.
But it's even better, because watch this.
I can actually take the Mentos after the reaction has taken
place and now collect them back in the geyser tube, seal
it up, twist it off.
Even though they're wet, the nucleation
points are still perfect.
This twists onto a new bottle, and I get another reaction
using the same Mentos.
The next issue isn't a design issue, it's really an
experimental issue, and that is thousands upon thousands of
you have done this reaction, how high does the geyser go?
That seems to be the bragging point.
Well, little did I know that I could solve that problem
simply by taking this whole thing and
turning it 90 degrees.
In comes the skateboard.
Because all I have to do now is to take the bottle and
attach it to the keyboard.
That's where we need duct tape.
See, I have my kids.
I just put them on the skateboard and make them hold
the Diet Coke.
Drop the Mentos in and the Diet Coke and the kids and the
Mentos, but then my wife said, that's not a good idea.
That's where this solution was perfect.
All right, we've got a flat surface, we've got a
skateboard, Mentos.
This is how it works.
Ready, you pull like this and you drop it.
And it goes.
It goes really far.

Usually, right up into some lady's driveway.
Higginsworth, can you go get that, please.
Keep that light on me, please.
Thank you.
Well, while this is fun, it's not the easiest way to do it,
and it's not the least expensive way to do it, that's
why we had to come up with a new solution.
It's this.
So we teamed up with our friends at Science Museum,
Oklahoma, and turned 150 teachers loose, all with
geyser cars, to create an unforgettable learning
Take a look at this.