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Re: Water or Coke? (Some chemistry: radically OT)

by Itatsumaki (Friar)
on Nov 12, 2003 at 20:35 UTC ( #306626=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to Water or Coke?
in thread Average number of caffeinated beverages per work day

Actually, there is a fair amount of misinformation in the coke part of that article. To wit:

3. To clean a toilet, pour a can of Coca-Cola into the toilet bowl and let the "real thing" sit for one hour, then flush clean. The citric acid in Coke removes stains from vitreous china.

Citric acid is totally harmless. In fact, citric... citric... sounds like... citrus.... Imagine that, coke has the same acid as oranges. The majority of energy for all mammals is produced in the "citric acid cycle".

4. To remove rust spots from chrome car bumpers : rub the bumper with a crumpled-up piece of Reynolds wrap aluminum foil dipped in Coca-Cola.

Interesting, I didn't know that. The Coke must be acting as a conduit for ion-transfer from the bumper to the more electropositive aluminum. Hmm... salt water would work too. As would any other highly ionic solution, for that matter. I imagine the key factor is the specific activity, so the doubly charged PO4(2-) will make coke great for this. Fortunately we don't have electrodes in our stomach.

5. To clean corrosion from car battery terminals : pur a can of Coke-Cola over the terminals to bubble away the corrosion.

See above coke acts as a great hydrogen donor to help displace any unwelcome oxidation.

6. To loosen a rusted bolt: apply a cloth soaked in Coca-Cola to the rusted bolt for several minutes.

See above

7. To remove grease from clothes, Empty a can of coke into a load of greasy clothes, add detergent and run through a regular cycle. The Coca-Cola will help lossen grease stains. it will also clean road-haze from your windshield.

I didn't know this, and to be honest I can't see why coke is acting as a surfactant. That's interesting: I wonder if it would work for any low-pH solutions?

1. The active ingredient in Coke is phosphoric acid. Its pH is 2.8. It will dissolve a nail in about 4 days.

Inorganic Phosphorus (PPi) is one of the driving forces for ATP synthesis. The body uses phosphoric acid extensively as a buffer to control cellular pH.

2. To carry Coca-Cola syrup (the concentrate) the commercial truck must use the Hazardous material place cards reserved for Highly corrosive materials.

So lets say that they dilute the syrup 10x to made a glass. That makes the syrup pH 1.8, explaining that. When you dilute the acid. So?

The basic fact is true: water is better for you than Coke. We should all drink a lot more water than we do. But I don't think scaring people by throwing a lack of chemistry in their face is a good way to do it; the benefits of water should stand on their own. I think the references to citric and phosphoric acid are in particularly poor taste: those are essential constituents of the all eukaryotes. They aren't "bad chemicals" in any way shape or form.

  • Comment on Re: Water or Coke? (Some chemistry: radically OT)

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Re: Re: Water or Coke? (Some chemistry: radically OT)
by vacant (Monk) on Nov 13, 2003 at 04:06 UTC
Re: Re: Water or Coke? (Some chemistry: radically OT)
by sauoq (Abbot) on Nov 13, 2003 at 05:40 UTC
    4. To remove rust spots from chrome car bumpers : rub the bumper with a crumpled-up piece of Reynolds wrap aluminum foil dipped in Coca-Cola.

    I remember using aluminum foil as a kid to get rust off my bike. No Coke though. And I also vaguely recall that only one side of the foil worked well. I think it was the dull side.

    "My two cents aren't worth a dime.";

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