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Shimmy, Shimmy Soda Pop: Develop Your Own Soda Pop Recipe

Difficulty
Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability You will need to purchase citric acid at a specialty store or online. See the Materials and Equipment list for details.
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety No issues

Abstract

On a hot summer day, don't you just love opening a can of your favorite soda pop and taking a deep drink? The bubbles in the soda tickle your tongue's taste buds and propel the ingredients to your palate and nose so that you get a kick of flavor. But how do the bubbles, fizz, and taste get into the water? In this cooking and food science project, you will work with baking soda, citric acid, and sugar to create a your own soda pop. Once you develop your recipe, try it out on your friends and family. Who knows? You might create the next soda pop sensation!

Objective

To determine a ratio of baking soda, citric acid, and sugar that makes an enjoyable soda pop.

Credits

Michelle Maranowski, PhD, Science Buddies

  • Coke is a registered trademark of The Coca-Cola Company.
  • Pepsi Cola is a registered trademark of Pepsico Inc.
  • Dr Pepper is a registered trademark of the Dr Pepper Snapple Group.

Cite This Page

MLA Style

Science Buddies Staff. "Shimmy, Shimmy Soda Pop: Develop Your Own Soda Pop Recipe" Science Buddies. Science Buddies, 23 Oct. 2014. Web. 21 Dec. 2014 <http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project_ideas/FoodSci_p070.shtml>

APA Style

Science Buddies Staff. (2014, October 23). Shimmy, Shimmy Soda Pop: Develop Your Own Soda Pop Recipe. Retrieved December 21, 2014 from http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project_ideas/FoodSci_p070.shtml

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Last edit date: 2014-10-23

Introduction

A nice way to spend a warm and lazy Saturday afternoon is to go to your local park and have a picnic. What kinds of things would you take on your picnic? Potato salad? Sandwiches? Barbecued chicken? While everyone enjoys different picnic food, a lot of people also enjoy drinking a cool and refreshing soda pop. Just hearing the fizz and bubbles when you open a can or bottle can set your taste buds tingling! Did you know that the average American drinks 50 gallons of soda pop every year (Public Health Advocacy, 2009)? Soda pop is a delicious treat because it is cold, sweet, and available everywhere. But what is soda pop and is it easy to make?

Soda pop is essentially carbonated water. Carbonated water is water into which a gas called carbon dioxide has been dissolved under high pressure. When you open a can or bottle of soda, the pressure is released and the carbon dioxide starts to come out of the solution. The escaping carbon dioxide is what causes the bubbles in the beverage. Figure 1 shows carbon dioxide bubbles escaping from a soda pop drink.



Human Behavior science  project <B>Figure 1.</B> Carbon dioxide bubbles in soda. (Wikipedia, 2005.)

Figure 1. Carbon dioxide bubbles in soda. (Wikipedia, 2005.)



Carbonation also occurs in nature, when water underground comes in contact with a source of carbon, such as limestone. The reaction between the water, limestone, and the high pressure of the earth creates carbon dioxide and dissolves it into the water. When the water eventually rises to Earth's surface, the pressure is released and bubbly water is the result. In the 1700's, this naturally carbonated water was thought to be a healthy beverage that could cure all kinds of ailments like arthritis, indigestion, and constipation. In 1767, an Englishman named Joseph Priestley discovered a way to artificially carbonate water, which inspired many doctors and pharmacists to figure out ways to reliably carbonate large batches of water for their patients. By the late 19th century, there were soda shops and soda fountains in pharmacies (where Mom and Dad get the medicine prescribed by your doctor) all over the United States. Yes, that's right, in pharmacies. Why? Because carbonated water, or soda, was still considered to be a healing beverage! Pharmacists were actually the first people to create flavored sodas. They used crushed fruits, nuts, and roots to make the drink more tasty. In fact, pharmacists created most of the soda pop recipes with which you are familiar now.

In this cooking and food science project, you will use baking soda (also called sodium bicarbonate), citric acid, and sugar to develop your own recipe for soda pop. When you mix baking soda and citric acid together with water, a chemical reaction (like the one in the earth, mentioned above) takes place that creates carbon dioxide. The results of two chemicals reacting together are called the products of the reaction. The chemical reaction when you combine baking soda and citric acid results in carbon dioxide, water, and sodium citrate as products. Sodium citrate, just like the others you'll be working with, is a harmless substance and is safe to eat or drink.

How much of each ingredient will you need to make a soda that has a good amount of bubbly fizz and the right touch of sweetness? How long will the bubbly fizz last? Get your taste buds ready for an adventure!

Terms and Concepts

  • Carbonization
  • Gas
  • Carbon dioxide
  • Dissolve
  • Pressure
  • Artificial
  • Pharmacist
  • Baking soda
  • Citric acid
  • Chemical reaction
  • Reaction product
  • Chemical equation
  • Data
  • Mathematical average

Questions

  • What causes a soda pop drink to become what we call flat?
  • Where in the world are there natural springs that produce carbonated water? Hint: If you have trouble finding an answer, go to the grocery store and read some labels!
  • Do you drink soda pop? What flavors of your soda pop do you enjoy?
  • What methods are used now to artificially carbonate water?
  • What are the health effects of drinking too much soda pop?
  • What is baking soda?
  • What is citric acid? Which fruits naturally contain citric acid?
  • What is the chemical equation that describes the reaction between baking soda, citric acid, and water?

Bibliography

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Materials and Equipment

A project kit containing most of the items needed for this science project is available for puchase from AquaPhoenix Education. Alternatively, you can gather the materials yourself using this shopping list:

  • Baking soda, 8-ounce (oz) box
  • Citric acid, 50 grams (g). You can find food-grade citric acid at your local health foods store or online at Amazon.
  • Teaspoon (tsp.), ¼-tsp. measure
  • Teaspoon, 1/8-tsp. measure
  • Plastic cups, clear (6)
  • Liquid measure cup, 1-cup capacity
  • Wooden coffee stirrers (10)
  • Digital kitchen timer
  • Paper towels (1 roll)
  • Sugar, 50g
  • Lab notebook
  • Optional: Graph paper

Disclaimer: Science Buddies occasionally provides information (such as part numbers, supplier names, and supplier weblinks) to assist our users in locating specialty items for individual projects. The information is provided solely as a convenience to our users. We do our best to make sure that part numbers and descriptions are accurate when first listed. However, since part numbers do change as items are obsoleted or improved, please send us an email if you run across any parts that are no longer available. We also do our best to make sure that any listed supplier provides prompt, courteous service. Science Buddies does participate in affiliate programs with Amazon.comsciencebuddies, Carolina Biological, and AquaPhoenix Education. Proceeds from the affiliate programs help support Science Buddies, a 501( c ) 3 public charity. If you have any comments (positive or negative) related to purchases you've made for science fair projects from recommendations on our site, please let us know. Write to us at scibuddy@sciencebuddies.org.

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Experimental Procedure

Making the Soda

  1. In your lab notebook, make a data table, like the one shown below, where you can record data as you experiment.
Amount of Baking Soda Amount of Citric Acid Trial Initial Bubbliness Initial Grittiness Bubbliness After 1 Minute Grittiness After 1 Minute
1/16 tsp.1/4 tsp. 1    
2    
3    
1/8 tsp.1/4 tsp. 1    
2    
3    
1/4 tsp.1/4 tsp. 1    
2    
3    
1/2 tsp.1/4 tsp. 1    
2    
3    
1 tsp.1/4 tsp. 1    
2    
3    
  1. Add 1/16 tsp. (fill half of the 1/8-tsp. measuring spoon) of baking soda to the plastic cup. Add ¼ tsp. of citric acid to the same plastic cup. Gently swirl the cup to mix the baking soda and the citric acid together.
  2. Using the measuring cup, add ¼ cup of cool, clear water to the plastic cup. Use the wooden stirrer to quickly mix the solution together, and then taste the beverage.
  3. Are there a lot of bubbles? Is the liquid mildly bubbly or is it bubbling a lot? Rate the bubbling on a scale of 1–5, where 1 is too bubbly and 5 is not bubbly at all, in the Initial Bubbliness column of the data table (Initial, in this case, means "at first").
  4. How does the liquid feel on your tongue? Is the liquid too gritty? Do you find the feeling of the liquid in your mouth pleasant? Rate the grittiness of the beverage on a scale of 1–5, where 1 is too gritty and 5 is not gritty at all, in the Initial Grittiness column of the data table.
  5. After tasting the beverage, feel free to spit out the liquid. It won't harm you to swallow it, but it might not taste very much like soda yet, and you also don't want to over-acidify your stomach (which could give you a slight stomachache), because there is still more testing to do.
  6. Set the timer for 1 minute and leave the beverage alone. After 1 minute has gone by, take a sip of the beverage again. How are the bubbliness and grittiness after sitting undisturbed for 1 minute? Note how the beverage tastes, and rate the bubbliness and grittiness, using the same scale you used in steps 4–5, in the Bubbliness After 1 Minute and Grittiness After 1 Minute columns in your data table. Again, if you choose, spit out the liquid into the other plastic cup.
    1. Tip: To be consistent about how long the mixture is sitting before you taste it the second time you may want to start the 1 minute timer right after you mix the solution above in step 3.
  7. Pour any remaining liquid down the drain. Rinse out both plastic cups and wipe them out with a paper towel. Make sure that there isn't any extra baking soda or citric acid in the bottom of the cup that you are using to mix the ingredients.
  8. Repeat steps 2–8 four more times, using the following measurements:
Baking Soda Citric Acid
1/8 tsp. 1/4 tsp.
1/4 tsp. 1/4 tsp.
1/2 tsp. 1/4 tsp.
1 tsp. 1/4 tsp.
  1. Pour any remaining liquid down the drain. Rinse out all plastic cups and wipe them out with a paper towel. Make sure that there isn't any extra baking soda or citric acid in the bottom of the cup that you are using to mix the ingredients.
  2. Now repeat steps 2–10 two more times for a total of three trials for each measurement. It is always necessary to repeat your experiments to ensure that the data you have collected is reliable and reproducible. Record all data in your data table.

Adding the Sugar

  1. Once you've developed the base recipe (the recipe you enjoyed best), it is time to add sugar to sweeten the drink. Make a table in your lab notebook, like the one shown below.
Amount of Sugar Trial Sweetness Observations
1/4 tsp.1 
2 
3 
1/2 tsp.1 
2 
3 
1 tsp.1 
2 
3 
  1. Take a new, clean plastic cup and duplicate the recipe that you enjoyed best from the first section.
  2. Add ¼ tsp. of sugar to the beverage and quickly stir in the sugar with a clean, wooden stirrer.
  3. Taste the beverage and record your observations in the data table in your lab notebook. Is the beverage sweet enough? Rate the sweetness of the beverage on a scale of 1–3, where 1 is not at all sweet and 3 is too sweet. Record your data in your lab notebook.
  4. Repeat steps 2–4, but add ½ tsp. of sugar.
  5. Repeat steps 2–4, but add 1 tsp. of sugar.
  6. Discard all extra liquid and rinse out the plastic cups.
  7. Repeat steps 2–7, two more times for a total of three trials for each sugar amount. It is always necessary to repeat your experiments to ensure that the data you have collected is reliable and reproducible.

Analyzing Your Data

  1. Average the bubbliness and grittiness data that you collected in the first data table. Average the data for the three trials for each recipe or combination of baking soda and citric acid. Equation 1 describes how to calculate the average. Ask an adult if you need help with the math.

    Equation 1:

    Average = Trial 1 + Trial 2 + Trial 3
    3

  2. Use a table like the one shown below to collect your average data.
Amount of Baking Soda Amount of Citric Acid Average Bubbliness Average Grittiness
1/16 tsp. 1/4 tsp.  
1/8 tsp. 1/4 tsp.  
1/4 tsp. 1/4 tsp.  
1/2 tsp. 1/4 tsp.  
1 tsp. 1/4 tsp.  
  1. Calculate the average sweetness for the data that you collected in the second table. Use a table like the one shown below to collect your data.
Amount of Sugar Average Sweetness
1/4 tsp. 
1/2 tsp. 
1 tsp. 
  1. Now plot the data on a graph. You can plot the data by hand using graph paper, or you can plot the data online at a website such as Create a Graph. Label the x-axis Recipe and label the y-axis Average Bubbliness. Make an identical plot for the average grittiness. And finally, make another plot for the average sweetness. According to your data, which combination of baking soda, citric acid, and sugar yields the most enjoyable soda?

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Variations

  • Ask your friends and family to taste the final recipe that you developed above. Do they enjoy the beverage as much as you do? Collect their feedback and see if you can develop a recipe that everyone enjoys.
  • Add flavorings, like vanilla, cinnamon, or a little bit of crushed fruit, to develop your own unique soda pop.
  • Some fruits contain citric acid. Try recreating your soda recipe using fruit juice from a fruit that contains citric acid, instead of using food-grade citric acid. How does the amount of fruit juice compare to the quantity of food-grade citric acid in your ideal flavor combination?

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