Carbonation of Soft Drinks

Definition of Carbonation

It is the process of dissolving carbon dioxide into water which is done with pressure being applied or it can be done naturally.

Equilibrium in Carbonated Drinks

Fig 1


In the image above (fig1), explains the process of adding carbon dioxide (c02) into the water. It starts by having the carbon dioxide in the cylinder pass through the valve and into a nozzle of the water bottle. The carbon dioxide bubbles began to rise to the surface causing some of it to dissolve on its way up. The undissolved carbon dioxide begins to escape from the surface of the water and turns into a gas that occupies the remaining space above the water (fig2). Eventually after all this equilibrium is then established between the rates at which carbon dioxide dissolves in water and at the rate which undissloved carbon dioxide rises to the surface.

fig 2

Le Chatelier’s Principal applied to carbonated soft drinks

Le Chatelier’s principle states that “any change in a system at equilibrium results in a shift of the equilibrium in the direction which minimizes the change” (Clark 2012).The equation below will demonstrate how Le Chatelier’s principle can be applied to carbonation.

CO2(g)+H2O(l) <–> H2CO3(aq)+42.1 kJ

Temperature can affect the equilibrium  of any reaction  including carbonated soft drinks.  The reaction above is exothermic since  there is a higher temperature it will cause the amount of products to increase. Therefore in order to achieve equilibrium in this reaction the amount of products will need to shift to the reactant side so that it is at equilibrium. For this reaction more CO2(g) and H2O(l) will be produced. With more amount of H2CO3(aq) it will result in more product created and Le Chatelier principle states that with an increased amount of products it will shift to the reactant side so that a new equilibrium is formed.



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10 Responses to Carbonation of Soft Drinks

  1. jabrilmohamoud says:

    What will happen to the equilibrium when the temperature is near frozen.

    • thinusan says:

      When the temperature is near frozen the equilibrium will shift to favor the product side since the reaction is exothermic.

  2. kisok says:

    With a lower temperature will there be a different equation that represents the change, and will it be considered a endothermic reaction?

    • thinusan says:

      With a lower temperature the current exothermic reaction will become a endothermic reaction and the equation will stay the same except it will have a different ka value.

  3. nivethau says:

    How will increasing or decreasing the pressure affect the equilibrium reaction, according to le chatelier’s principle?

  4. halarahman says:

    How is the equilibrium of the system effected once the soft drink is consumed? Does the solution remain in equilibrium, or does the pH of the stomach, body temperature, change in pressure, ect affect the equilibrium of the system?

  5. harsaan says:

    What are the harmful outcomes can harm the body due to this and how does this relate to equilibrium within the body as well ?

  6. alifaizan786 says:

    Good job!!!, your blog post topic is very interesting and very informative. I have a question and also a few clarifications to make. Why are carbonated soft drinks stored in so compact and tight sealed containers? Also, why do they always explode out when you shake them or if it falls on the ground?

    • thinusan says:

      They are stored in tight containers so that it keeps the pressure up inside the container so that the carbon dioxide stays in the beverage and does not escape so that the soft drink doesn’t taste flat. The reason for soft drinks to explode when dropped or shaken is that soft drinks is made by forcing carbon dioxide gas into the beverage under pressure so that at the very top of container there are CO2 gas floating around and when the bottle is shaken some of the CO2 gas at the very top will get suspended in the liquid which will cause extra carbonation to form resulting in larger bubbles to be form.

  7. ninjapants300 says:

    Very interesting and informative post on carbonated drinks. It’s refreshing to see how such drinks are formed. I suspect that a reduce in temperature would result in a minimal amount of carbonation since you mentioned how temperature affects the equilibrium. Would it then mean that if the drink was hot the reaction would shift right and produce a lot of product? I guess we should keep that in mind while opening warm drinks.

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