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Pressure in a Dropped Soda Can

In the book What Einstein Told His Barber, by Robert L. Wolke, there is a section discussing champagne, soda, and pressure. He says, “If I said that shaking a bottle of champagne, beer, or pop raises the gas pressure inside, 99 out of 100 people, even chemists and physicists, would agree. But it’s not true.” (page 232)

We were intrigued by this challenge. A quick search on the internet will lead you to many vigorous arguments both supporting and denying the pressure change on shaking. We did not have a quick way to measure the pressure inside a soda can, but we decided to use our special wine bottle. Our results are shown in the graph below.

We had a small change in pressure, but note that our situation was a little artificial. We had to fill our wine bottle with soda (actually Diet Pepsi). We let it sit for a couple of hours before we started the experiment, but our system probably did not have enough time to reach equilibrium. This subject could be a good one for student experimentation.

Pressure vs. time as shake the container

Pressure vs. time as shake the container

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