Solution to Chemical Mystery #3: The Sour Side of Chemistry!

Congratulations to Grazyna Zreda who solved the ! To conduct this trick, two white Mentos candies are placed in separate beakers that both contain universal indicator. One of the Mentos candies turns the indicator slightly green, indicating the presence of base. The other Mentos candy turns the indicator red, indicating the presence of acid. The trick is that one of the candies is a regular mint Mentos (which contains no citric acid), while the other is a fruit Mentos (which does contain citric acid). The outer, colored layer of the fruit Mentos is removed prior to the experiment. When this is done, the fruit Mentos looks very much like a regular white mint Mentos.

Citric acid is added to fruit Mentos to give it a slightly sour taste. Many other types of fruit candies contain acids, too. Of course no one wants their mints to taste sour, so no acid is added to mint Mentos. One thing I’m curious about with this experiment is why the mint Mentos tends to change the indicator to a slightly basic color. I don’t see anything in the ingredients of the mint Mentos that would indicate a base. Maybe someone could tell me what I might be missing…?

To see how you can pull of this trick, see the video below.

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Comments 4

Deanna Cullen's picture
Deanna Cullen | Sun, 09/28/2014 - 10:06

I used this for my ChemClub and they thought it was pretty cool. I took the coating off of both the mint and the fruit and allowed them to dry. My students are close enough during ChemClub that they would have seen the difference easily. Thanks for the idea!

Tom Kuntzleman's picture
Tom Kuntzleman | Mon, 09/29/2014 - 13:26

Now why didn't I think of that!?  Great idea!

Lowell Thomson's picture
Lowell Thomson | Thu, 10/01/2015 - 01:55

Hi Deanna and Tom,

Thanks for the blog post Tom. And thanks, Deanna, for sharing the idea about removing both outer coatings so they seem the same.

Can you share how you did this? Did you just soak them for a few minutes in water then dry them off?

Not wanting to re-invent the wheel here...

 

Thanks!

Lowell

Tom Kuntzleman's picture
Tom Kuntzleman | Thu, 10/01/2015 - 06:44

Hi Lowell:  Just swirl the fruit mentos in a small beaker water until the outer layer appears white. For me, this takes about 15 seconds of swirling. See the video above starting at about 2:35.

Let me know how this works!