Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Blow Up!

Coolest thing yet--and only $4.99!

We've been doing this for a couple of years...and now it's a toy.

As you probably know, Mentos and Diet Coke can create an explosive cocktail that can shoot an effervescent geyser up to 18 feet in the air. Cool.

We love doing this...outside. And we've tried all different kinds of sodas and find that Diet Coke works best, with Diet Pepsi second.

You may have seen the videos on YouTube. Heck, if you're young enough, your science teacher may have done this in class. This started as a science experiment that was designed to teach kids about catalysts and the reactions of the carbon dioxide in the soda. (I hope I got that right. Write in and tell me if I botched it.) Anyway, for years, science teachers did this "experiment" with Wintergreen Lifesavers, and then they changed the size so they don't fit in the bottle. The search was on for another catalyst. As any good science teacher knows, dramatic and messy is a great way to teach. (My 8th grade science teacher lit the gas jets so we would get it "out of our systems" and not have to try it ourselves. That was pretty cool and inspired my lifelong search for a personal flame thrower, which I have yet to realize.)

So, Science Teacher and Denver TV personality Steve Spangler has taken this to the next level. See, the problem with getting the geyser to work right is that you have to get the Mentos into the soda bottle and get out of the way quickly enough. Spangler has invented a patented (which means don't even think about trying this at home or in your little toy company because his lawyers will be all over you like a sticky soda pop mess) mechanism called the Geyser Tube.

The device is a tube that holds the candy and fits on the bottle top. Insert the Mentos in the tube, screw down on top of a soda bottle and pull the string. Blam. Now, the even cooler thing is that the top of the tube has a smaller opening, which increases the pressure and sends the geyser up about 30 feet--nearly twice the previous record. Spangler also has an exclusive deal with Mentos. (He's not just a cool science teacher; he's a smart businessman.)

The product is coming out this spring from Be Amazing toys, and it will come with your first roll of Mentos free. (The first one is ALWAYS free. Hee hee.) You're on your own with the soda.

We love this because it's totally cool, a complete mess and it works every time.

Plus, kids can say they're learning something. And, of course, as any scientist knows, you have to repeate the experiment many times to confirm the results. I wish I'd had someone like Spangler making toys when I was a kid. The "experiment" line only worked so much for me. My mother would be much more likely to believe that this soda thing was a science experiment than when we set off all those cherry bombs and scorched her azaleas.

- C. Byrne


Steve Spangler said...

Chris -- You got the science right. The Mentos just help the carbon dioxide escape from the soda... in the coolest way possible. Thanks for the live shot back to Denver on KUSA 9News on Monday. Whenever you're in Denver, be sure to stop by the station and we'll blow something else up.

--Steve Spangler