Laura's Lessons: The exploding volcano experiment using diet cola and mints

Welcome to Laura's Lessons where our very own Laura Tobin brings you weather and science experiments from home to keep you busy during the lockdown.

It's time for a fun science experiment that has taken the internet by storm - the volcano explosion.

Laura shows how the experiment can be tried out at home. All you need is a bottle of diet cola and some mentos, although you can try it with other types of mints.

Most importantly, you need your parents advice and safety goggles are advisable.

Laura's Lessons: Volcano experiment

Here is what you will need:

- A bottle of diet cola - Some mentos mints or soft mints- A piece of paper with sellotape or the cardboard from an empty roll of kitchen foil- A pair of scissors- A pair of safety goggles

Laura's Lessons equipment

What causes the eruption?

Laura says: "Fizzy drinks have got carbon dioxide in them. As the sweets fall they have a rough surface area and this allows the bonds between the carbon dioxide gas and the water to break more easily which produces more carbon dioxide bubbles so as they sink with all those millions of nucleation sites, we have more and more carbon dioxide. They react with the rising bubbles which need to be released somewhere and the only place all of these bubbles can come out of is the top.

"In short as soon as you drop one of these sweets into the drink, it will rapidly release the carbon dioxide trapped inside so these sweets act as a catalyst. The size of the eruption you get depends on many different factors."

Laura is trying with one diet cola bottle at room temperature and one that has been warmed up.

After Laura puts the mints in, the cola explodes.
The cola shoots out of the bottle due to a reaction from the mints.

Why diet cola and why not full fat?

"The reason why is that diet cola has more carbonation and it has a lower surface tension which allows the bubbles to come out more easily," Laura explains.

Method:

Remember to make sure you have all the safety equipment and you carry out the experiment safely.

If you try this in an outdoor space, please ensure you abide by the social distancing rules.

1. Put on your safety goggles and roll up the piece of paper to make a funnel to drop the sweets into the cola as quickly as possible.

2. Put the mentos down the tube, place the tube directly over the top of the cola with a piece of paper between the tube and top of the bottle. When you are ready, remove the piece of paper, stand back and 3,2,1....!

You can try diet and full fat at home. You can also try cola or lemonade. You can try other drinks rather than using mentos, you can try soft mints, other sweets, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and you can use salt and they all give different results.

Fun fact:

The world record was broken in November 2014 in Mexico where 4,334 people simultaneously set off these exploding bottles in a group with everyone wearing rain macs.

Don't forget to send them in to us using #LaurasLessons and see how high you can get yours.

See if you notice Laura's daughter Charlotte in the background!

There's more from Laura's Lessons.

Here's how you can measure your own weather.