Carbonation in Soda

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Updated on Aug 20, 2013

Ever crack open a cold soda, only for it to go flat on you a few hours later?Those"bubbles" or "effervescence" in carbonated soda are caused by carbon dioxide gas dissolved in the liquid. The carbon dioxide gas bubbles provide the pleasant sparkle in the soda and other carbonated beverages. In this science fair activity,the effect of temperature on the carbonation in sodawill be investigated.


  • Bottle of club soda or seltzer water
  • 8 oz plastic drinking cups
  • Medicine thermometer
  • Stop watch or clock

  1. Open a new bottle of club soda.
  2. Fill three clear plastic cups about ½ full of the soda.
  3. Fill another empty cup about a third of the way with ice cold water and measure the temperature.
  4. Fill a second cup about a third of the way with water at room temperature and measure its temperature.
  5. In a 3rd cup fill it about a third of the way with hot water from the tap and record its temperature.
  6. Carefully place one of the soda cups in the cold water, place the 2nd cup in the room temperature water and the 3rd soda cup in the hot water. As some below.
  7. Carefully observe the amount of "bubbling" or "fizzing" taking place in each soda cup.
  8. Record the results as follows: For the amount of fizzing or effervescences seen write "None," "slow," "moderate," or "rapid." For the amount of gas released write "none," "moderate" or "high."
  9. Record how long the "fizzing" last at each temperature.

Trial 1

Temperature Amount of effervescence Rate of Gas released Time
  1. Repeat the activity again to see if the results both agree.

Trial 2

Temperature Amount of effervescence Rate of Gas released Time
  1. Using graph paper or a computer equipped with Excel® visually display the data in the table by first averaging the time and temperature results, then plotting a bar or line graph of temperature verse amount of time for gas release.
  2. The temperatures of the water are displayed along the horizontal axis and the time of visible "fizzing" or effervescences is displayed along the vertical axis.


The carbonation in soda occurs whengases, such as carbon dioxide, are dissolved into a liquid such as water or corn syrup. When a gas contacts a liquid it naturally dissolves into the liquid until it becomes saturated. The gas will continue to dissolve into the liquid until the pressure in the liquid is equal to the pressure that pushes down on the liquid. In order to dissolve more gas into the liquid, the gas must be placed under additional pressure.

When gas bubbles rise to the surface of a liquid and "pop," the gas goes into the air above the liquid. So, watching bubbles rise to the surface and pop will be used to give a sense of how much gas is being released from the solution. In this project a comparison will be made of the amount of CO2 gas that leaves club soda at cold, room, and warm temperatures by observing the number of bubbles that rise from each. Based on the results of this investigation a data table will be prepared and the results potted on a graph. A practical benefit gained from conducting this project is that the young investigator will be to answer the question of why carbonated beverages "go flat"when they are not stored in the refrigerator.

Mike Calhoun is a consultant for the National Science Teachers Association, a veteran science teacher, and hosts an online science website. Over the years Mike has studied trends in science, education, and finance, conducting research, developing programs, and writing articles on these topics.

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