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Q: Adding salt to Coke gives fizzzz. ( Answered,   4 Comments )
Subject: Adding salt to Coke gives fizzzz.
Category: Computers > Algorithms
Asked by: kadap-ga
List Price: $5.00
Posted: 21 May 2002 06:01 PDT
Expires: 28 May 2002 06:01 PDT
Question ID: 17234
Adding salt to Coke gives fizzzz. Is it a chemical or physical reaction?
Subject: Re: Adding salt to Coke gives fizzzz.
Answered By: scriptor-ga on 21 May 2002 06:57 PDT
Dear kadap,

The fizz when adding salt to cola (or any other sparkling drink, like
seltzer or even champagne) is as well a chemical as a physical
reaction, or better: A chemical reaction based upon physical reasons.

Cola or any other sparkling drink, like seltzer or even champagne,
contains carbon dioxide. This substance reacts with water and forms
carbonic acid, what is actually causing the bubbles in the liquid. So
far, this is clearly a chemical reaction.

However, when carefully examining a glass filled with a sparkling
drink, you will notice that the rising bubbles form streams each
beginning at a certain starting point in the glass. This is normally a
small, even invisible scratch or notch on the inner surface of the
glass. The bubbles can form easily around a sharp edge, and such a
point where the reaction between water and carbonic dioxide with the
result of carbonic acid takes place is something physical.

Salt consists of small crystals, each having numerous edges. So, when
salt is added to a sparkling drink, the carbon dioxide suddenly has
much more points to react with water and form carbonic acid. By this,
much more bubbles develop and rise to the liquid’s surface, giving the
impression of a fizz. The amount of carbon dioxide in the liquid will
soon be exhausted, and the reaction will expire very fast. Also, the
salt will dissolve in the liquid and the many sharp edges of the salt
crystals will be gone then.

Now you see: The fizz is a fugacious mega-sparkling (a chemical
reaction) which is caused not by the chemical properties of the salt
added, but by its physical properties (the edges of the crystals).

This whole process is also explained very intelligibly here:

Search terms used:
salt soda reaction fizz carbonic acid:

Hope this was what you wanted to know!
Subject: Re: Adding salt to Coke gives fizzzz.
From: davebug-ga on 21 May 2002 06:18 PDT
Most likely, it's for the same (physical) reaction that happens when
you drop Mentos mints into a soda.
Subject: Re: Adding salt to Coke gives fizzzz.
From: ranskaa-ga on 21 May 2002 07:23 PDT
try one of those smarties candies
Subject: Re: Adding salt to Coke gives fizzzz.
From: skermit-ga on 21 May 2002 08:59 PDT
the technical term is "nucleation site" and more info can be found here:


Here you go!
Subject: Re: Adding salt to Coke gives fizzzz.
From: kaitou-ga on 21 May 2002 15:23 PDT
I'd like to add that the particularly violent fizzing you get with
salt is also due in part to the fact that as the salt dissolves it
decreases the solubility of the carbon dioxide in the Coke.  The
higher the salt content the less easily the coke can hold on to the
carbonation.  You won't get quite the same reaction with,
say, sugar.

This is not 100% relevant, but it explains the chemistry well (see
"Peanut-induced fizz" at the bottom)

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