On a hot summer day, there’s frequently nothing better than ice-cold soda pop. Yet if friend forgot to throw your recent batch in the fridge and also need come cool it down in a hurry, friend might think about putting a can of soda in her freezer.

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After all, your freezer is chillier than your refrigerator, and also cooling that this way way you don’t have to water the soda down with a chunk of ice.

So what wake up if you leaving soda in the freezer?

There room two possible outcomes if friend leave your drink in the freeze: you can have a frozen container the soda if girlfriend are really lucky. But in plenty of cases, you’ll have an exploded have the right to of soda decorating her icebox.

A can of soda that has just exploded will certainly sound a according to “pop” and leave the inner of the icebox coated in snowy soda remnants, along with shards of the aluminum deserve to or plastic bottle.


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Image courtesy of Derek K Miller


This occurs because of the distinctive chemical properties of water mixing explosively with the naturally expansive nature of carbon dioxide gas.

Other liquids have the right to be safely stored in your freezer to end up being chilled and also frozen right into a solid state, yet not soda. Both water and also carbon dioxide have actually a tendency to push versus their containers under the appropriate circumstances.

Even if the have the right to of soda hasn’t exploded, it’s not a very safe point to handle due to the fact that putting pressure on the container could cause the same chain reaction defined above.

Overall, placing soda in the freezer isn’t a clever idea also if you’re desperate for a cool drink.

While it’s tempting to usage your freezer to chill a can of soda top top a warm day, there room other methods that can achieve the same goal there is no as lot risk to her icebox or personal safety.


Table that Contents


Expansion of Water In your Soda Can

To totally understand this process, you have to understand how water increases when the ambient temperature changes with her soda.

Generally, chemistry and physics dictate that chillier temperatures cause the fluid to contract and warmer temperatures reason the fluid to expand.

This is because greater temperatures cause liquids come become an ext gaseous together a result of much more energy in the setting surrounding the liquid.

The reverse is true for chillier temperatures; liquid molecules slow-moving down and also thus become more solid. In fact, once liquids frozen it’s a result of the temperature gift so cold that their molecules don’t move approximately as much.

Water complies with this basic trend, however only up to a details point. In ~ 4°C, water stops ending up being denser as it cools down and instead starts to expand as the temperature proceeds to decrease.

This quirk the physics is what provides ice take it up much more surface area as soon as frozen 보다 the very same amount of fluid water, in addition to some wait molecules gift trapped in the latticework the a offered piece of ice.

As girlfriend know, your freezer reaches listed below 4°C. The reaches at least 0°C in bespeak to accomplish the freezing suggest of water. This means that any type of fluids consisted of inside your freezer will broaden as they reach the last stages that transitioning to a heavy state of matter.

How This affect Soda Cans and also Bottles

So, how does this affect soda cans or bottles and also why does it cause an explosion?

Despite every one of the tasty ingredients that comprise a deserve to of Coca-Cola or Pepsi, both beverages and also all other types of soda are mostly water and carbon dioxide. In fact, water is the single ingredient that renders up the majority of the issue in a given can of soda.

This means that every can of soda is basically a ticking time bomb if you stick it into your freezer. That’s 16 or so ounces the liquid will certainly chill until it will 4°C, then start to expand.

However, water alone would certainly not reason an explosive effect. The visibility of carbon dioxide is the an enig ingredient.

You see, together the water expands, it also puts pressure on the carbon dioxide gas to escape its confinement. Unlike continuous water, carbon dioxide is relatively explosive if friend unleash it conveniently through a tiny opening.

Imagine opened a deserve to of soda; the instant hiss girlfriend hear is the carbon dioxide escaping with the optimal rapidly. As soon as a deserve to of soda explodes, it’s since the water and also CO2 have actually put so much pressure top top the have the right to that the structure can’t withstand it any type of longer.

The aluminum have the right to of a common soda is solid enough to stand up to normal pressure changes and hold the carbonation pressure from the carbon dioxide gas.

But it’s not built to handle the form of pressure that comes with whole can of fluid trying come expand. As you might imagine, the widening water has actually nowhere come go, increasing the stress on the aluminum can, an especially its weaker points like the tab i m sorry you usage for opening the soda come drink.


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Image Courtesy of Steve Clancy


These weak points only become more stressed as the water and also CO2 proceed to expand and also reach 0°C. This is not a suddenly process; that’s why part cans the soda will certainly actually do it all the way to the freezing allude and end up being frozen solid without exploding.

In those cases, the expansion impact that happens slowly sufficient in the aluminum can was strong enough to stand up to the change.

But in many cases, the slight push buildup will eventually reach a breaking point and reason the optimal of the soda deserve to to accurate blast off.

In some circumstances, the center of the deserve to may it is in the weakest point, therefore this is the point out that will explode outward, sending out shards the ice and aluminum everywhere. It’s fairly a mess.

It’s simple physics; the water and gas inside the have the right to expand and the aluminum have the right to isn’t strong enough to keep it contained. Therefore, using a freezer to cool down a can of soda is a risky venture.

Note the this entire process is no much longer relevant if the have the right to of soda is currently opened. It’s perfect fine to placed a cup of uncovered soda into the freezer because there will be enough room for the widening liquid to accounting without putting a stress, overload on the container.

Can you Still use the Freezer come Cool Soda?

As pointed out above, friend can always use the freezer come cool soda if it’s in one more container besides the original sealed deserve to or bottle.

Of course, a cup filled to the brim with soda will overflow as the liquid expands, yet it won’t explode and also cause as lot of a mess inside the freezer.

You have to pay an extremely close attention once using the freezer to provide a fast burst the cold before drinking to stop dropping the temperature as well much.

The idea is to take the soda out before it get 4°C once the water inside the deserve to would start to expand.

Taking the have the right to out before this point will allow you to gain cooler soda there is no risking the explosive effect.

Ideally, you’d desire to save a close eye ~ above the soda and check it after around 20 minutes. Anything after ~ 20 minute or so dangers the can drop come a temperature listed below 4°C, which might put pressure on the can.

In this case, you have to be mindful when handling the deserve to or party of soda as disturbing the container could cause a preemptive explosion.

Alternative methods To Cool her Soda

Instead that risking an exploding can of soda, there are better ways to display your soft drink, and also much much more rapidly, come boot.

You could always place a deserve to of soda in the refrigerator. The ambient cool temperature inside will certainly slowly readjust the temperature of her soda, although air is a bad heat conductor and also will only achieve this procedure slowly.

By far, the best way to cool down your have the right to of soda is to put it in a cooler or bath of ice cream water.

Another interesting property the water is its warmth retention. A warm can of soda placed into ice cream water will quickly transfer that warm into the water itself, leaving the can ice cold much an ext quickly than if friend left the soda in her refrigerator.

Water sucks away warm a lot more efficiently than consistent air.

This is partly as result of water’s very own chemical properties and also the fact that water is a much denser arsenal of molecules 보다 ambient air. Every one of that water deserve to run over the surface of your have the right to of soda, touching much more of the have the right to than air does in much less time.

The more surface area got to by the ice water, the quicker the cooling procedure takes place. Since water retains heat very well, over there won’t be much of a feedback loop, so your have the right to will stay cold rather than suck up warmth that the water takes on from the environment.

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Overall, using an ice cream bath to cool under a deserve to of soda must only take a couple of minutes as opposed to the hours forced by a contemporary refrigerator, and also all without the danger of an explosive mess the comes through using a freezer.