What Causes Some Drinks to Have Bubbles?

Have you ever wondered why drinks like soda (or pop) have bubbles? And why do the bubbles eventually disappear?

The key to bubbly drinks like soda is carbonation. Carbonation happens when carbon dioxide gas (CO2) is dissolved in water. Carbonation requires high pressure and low temperatures.

Drink makers mix carbonated water with different flavors to create the wide variety of carbonated drinks available worldwide. When a carbonated drink is stored in a sealed container like a can or a bottle, there are few bubbles because the contents are under high pressure.

The high pressure keeps the carbon dioxide dissolved in the water. However, when the bottle or can is opened, the pressure decreases rapidly. This allows the carbon dioxide to escape from the water and turn back into a gas.

When this happens, the carbon dioxide gas bubbles out of the liquid, creating fizz. The sound you hear when you open a soda is the sound of carbon dioxide molecules rushing back into the air.

When carbon dioxide is dissolved in water, it also produces a weak acid called carbonic acid. This acid gives carbonated drinks their tangy flavor, which is missing when a soda goes flat.

After you open a carbonated drink, carbon dioxide continues to escape from the liquid and return to the air. Over time, most of the carbon dioxide escapes and the drink loses its bubbles completely.

That’s why it’s important to close soda bottles tightly after opening them, to prevent the soda from going flat too quickly. Closing the bottle increases the pressure and slows down the escape of carbon dioxide.

Carbonated water has been around for a long time. Scientists discovered centuries ago that carbon dioxide was responsible for the bubbles in natural mineral water. In 1767, Joseph Priestly created the first drinkable glass of man-made carbonated water.

Soda fountains became popular in American pharmacies in the mid-19th century. Drinking natural or man-made carbonated mineral water was believed to have health benefits. Eventually, pharmacists started adding flavors to mineral water, and that’s how sodas (or pops!) were born.

Carbon dioxide has another interesting property. Besides its liquid and gas forms in the process of carbonation, it can also freeze into a solid. This solid form is known as dry ice!

Give It a Try

Feeling thirsty? Make sure to try out the following activities with a friend or family member:

  • Interested in witnessing the effects of carbon dioxide? The best way to apply your knowledge is by conducting fun and simple science experiments. Have you ever observed a Diet Coke and Mentos experiment? Watch the linked video and try to replicate the experiment at home with the assistance of an adult!
  • To observe how carbon dioxide continues to escape from an open soda bottle, attempt the Soda Balloon experiment. Watch the linked video and then try it out in your own kitchen!
  • Looking for some amusement? This experiment is a perfect excuse to enjoy soda and experience burping. Who says science can’t be entertaining? All you have to do is drink a can of diet soda quickly, without burping. After finishing, lie down on your back and attempt to burp. You’ll discover that it’s not as simple. However, if you sit up, you’ll be burping in no time. This is because carbon dioxide gas rises. When you’re lying down, the gas ascends to the top of your stomach, near your belly button. To burp, the gas needs to be near the top of your throat… which is exactly where it goes when you sit up!


1. Why do some drinks have bubbles?

Some drinks have bubbles because they contain carbon dioxide gas that is released when the drink is opened or poured. This carbon dioxide gas dissolves in the liquid and forms tiny bubbles. These bubbles give the drink a fizzy or bubbly sensation when consumed.

2. How is carbon dioxide gas added to drinks?

Carbon dioxide gas is added to drinks through a process called carbonation. During carbonation, carbon dioxide gas is forced into the liquid under pressure. This process can be done naturally, through fermentation, or artificially, by injecting carbon dioxide gas into the drink.

3. Why do some drinks have more bubbles than others?

The amount of bubbles in a drink can depend on several factors. The level of carbonation added to the drink, the temperature of the liquid, and the presence of any impurities can all affect the formation and retention of bubbles. Some drinks, like soda or sparkling water, are intentionally carbonated to have more bubbles, while others may have less carbonation naturally.

4. Can the bubbles in a drink affect its taste?

Yes, the presence of bubbles in a drink can affect its taste. The carbon dioxide gas in the bubbles can create a slightly acidic taste, which can alter the flavor profile of the drink. Additionally, the texture and mouthfeel of a bubbly drink can also contribute to the overall taste experience.

5. Are there any health benefits to drinking bubbly drinks?

While bubbly drinks can be refreshing and enjoyable, they do not offer any specific health benefits. In fact, some carbonated beverages, especially those high in sugar or artificial additives, can have negative health effects when consumed in excess. It is important to consume bubbly drinks in moderation as part of a balanced diet.

6. How can I make my own carbonated drinks at home?

There are several methods to make carbonated drinks at home. One popular method is to use a home carbonation system, which allows you to carbonate water or other beverages using carbon dioxide cartridges. Another option is to ferment your own beverages, such as kombucha or homemade soda, which naturally produce carbonation through the fermentation process. Just be sure to follow proper instructions and safety precautions when making your own carbonated drinks at home.

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