This is, surprisingly, a law that really sticks in my mind, after it was forcefully demonstrated to me on a Saturday afternoon, far from my chemistry
Bein' the percussionist
that I am, I don't have to watch what I eat and drink during marching band
games, as I don't have to worry about ruining reeds
and growing mold in my horn. September Saturday afternoon
s in California
can get exceedingly hot, and as our uniforms are made of wool, during football games everyone drinks as much liquid as possible. Having been liberated from plain ol' water
by my drummer-ness, I naturally chose to ingest something cold, caffeinated
, and carbonated. Carbonated
would be the key word here.
So, halfway through first quarter
I take my ice cold Diet Pepsi
from the cool shelter of my stickbag and, after marveling at the fact that it's not near to boiling (the temperature at this time is around 95 degrees, Farenheit
), uncap the lid as usual and drink, under the envious gazes of several wind players with their water bottles. I savour it; the bottle is nearly full when I'm finished. I recap it tightly (my first mistake
) and set it on the bench slightly behind me, atop my black cymbal
bag (my second). Ten, fifteen minutes later...
I loosen the cap on my soda without looking, assuming from prior experience
that the carbon dioxide
will have not built up enough to emit more than a brief hiss. Disaster strikes.
Diet Pepsi sprays the snare
, the snare player, my set, my lap, me... I quickly retighten it, but the damage is done. The snare player gives me a menacing glare. I return a bewildered shrug
, and a hasty apology. Only then do I observe the warnings that could have fended off disaster, had I only been a better scientific thinker.
- The bottle was warm to the touch.
- The sides, instead of having the slight give they should have had, were rock hard.
- Gay-Lussac's law states that, assuming a fixed amount of gas at a fixed volume, pressure is proportional to temperature. When the temperature rises, so does the pressure.
My theory is that the sun warming the carbon dioxide gas inside, along with accelerating the natural tendancy of all carbonated beverage
s to give off same. The heat may have caused the soda
to bubble more than normally, as well. All I know is this - that bottle should not have exploded, but explode
Let my experience serve as a warning for future generations - chemistry has practical applications far outside anything ever mentioned in lab. Take this to heart, or your dry-clean
ing bills, too, may skyrocket.