Buoyancy test: checking drinks for sugar
How to make a can sink
It's no secret that carbonated drinks can contain loads of sugar. We can use this property to perform a cool density experiment!
- deep glass container with water (such as an aquarium);
- various cans of regular and sugar-free sodas (12 fl oz / 330 mL).
Immerse various soda cans in water. Note that the sodas with reduced or no sugar don't sink!
The cans themselves are equal in size and contain equivalent amounts of liquid and gas; the cans’ different buoyancies are related to the densities of the drinks inside them. Density is a property that defines the mass of a certain volume of a given substance. A substance’s density depends on its composition. Drinks without sugar (containing tiny quantities of a sugar substitute) or with reduced sugar have a lower density than standard sodas. As a result, given that the volume is constant, the mass of the drink with the sugar substitute is lower than the mass of its sugary counterpart. This allows the sugar-free drink to float even as its sugary companion sinks.