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Solvent power of Colas and Sodas - Background info

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For a school science project I'm testing the solvent powers of various cola products (and one non-cola carbonated soda). Finding out whether there's a difference between diet & non-diet, etc.

 

I've tried to set up the experiment as fairly as possible: I have a set of old pennies ranging from 1950s to 1960s and I'm going to weigh them beforehand on a scale that's accurate to 10 milligrams, leave the coins in various liquids (out of Coca Cola, Coke Zero - sugar free, Fanta - cola free, and purified water as a control) for 8 hours, then weigh them again afterwards. I'll use identical glasses, keep them in the same place (out of the sun to ensure that the heat doesn't speed up any reactions), and the same amount of each liquid (125mL). I'll also repeat the experiment to ensure reliability.

 

I need some background information prior to doing my experiment. Could the artificial sweeteners in the diet soft drink affect it? What about the carbonation of the water? Should I have another control with just carbonated water? That kind of thing.

 

Thanks for your help. Any additional sites or books I might be able to read would assist greatly.

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I'd really recommend that you look at some other metals too. Some small iron nails might be a good idea. Since it's a school science project you could ask them for advice on getting some other metals to try- zinc would be next on my list.

It might also be interesting to try other drinks etc. I'm not sure I know anyone who drinks neat lemon juice, but I think it might give an interesting result. I will let you decide what your parents / school would think about wine and beer, but it would be perfectly valid science to test them too. A possible compromise would be to use low alcohol versions.

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