How It Works

Why do drinks fizz up when they hit the glass?

Carbonation is the process of dissolving carbon dioxide (CO2) in water (H2O), enhancing the taste and texture of fizzy drinks. It was first discovered by Joseph Priestley in the late 18th Century when he invented soda water. The result is usually carbonic acid (H2CO3), which gives fizzy drinks a slightly acidic taste, or ‘bite’.

When the drink is bottled it is pressurised from the gas. However, CO2 is poorly soluble in water so when you open the bottle, CO2 is quickly released, therefore releasing the pressure, producing fizz and a hissing noise – this is called effervescence. Shaking the bottle or pouring the liquid will speed up the release of CO2 making the drink fizz even more. It is only a matter of time before your drink is completely flat. Drink it quick.

Claudia Velhas, Science Museum