MadSci Network: Chemistry

Re: Does alcohol remove carbonation?

Date: Sun May 28 17:22:15 2000
Posted By: Charlie Crutchfield, Retired
Area of science: Chemistry
ID: 957827891.Ch

Dear Kate,
       This will be the third try to answer your query , my computer [or I] 
seem to have problems. Well, here goes again.

No, I don't think that alcohol destroys carbonation.  Many popular beverages 
- beer, champagne, sparkling burgundy, etc. are carbonated.

The presence of bubbles merely shows that the CO2 gas is leaving the 
solution, since these drinks are all super-saturated with CO2 even when 
cold. Therefore the gas will tend to leave the liquid. Even though no 
or few bubbles are seen, the liquid may still be well carbonated.

The bubbles of gas don't form just anywhere in the body of the liquid, they 
form at some point [a "nucleating" site], or rather points, almost always 
on some solid surface.

Look at a glass of soda water [or beer, or 7-UP, etc.] You will see that 
the bubbles form at definite points in the glass, when a bubble grows large 
enough and breaks away, a new small bubble starts to form at the same spot.

It may have been that when you drank the wine, the wine had removed many of 
the sites.

In the body of the liquid the same phenomenon will be seen. Bubbles will 
form on a thread of [e.g.] lint, break off, and new bubbles will form on 
the same speck.

Remember that you cite only one instance, one observation of this matter, 
so you could check it again. It seems like more fun than most experiments.

Get 3 dry glasses. Over one, shake a piece of paper, cloth, etc. In a 
second glass, fill it with wine, leave it stand for a few minutes, then drain 
the glass [Cheers!] leaving a little wine behind. Now pour club soda in all 
3 glasses and observe.

You may note a difference between a new glass and an old one with many 
scratches on the inner surface.


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