Soda Bottle Explodes Like a Bomb

sodagarageexplosion2.jpgNo, this is not a story about kids setting off a 2-liter soda bottle bomb or a mad scientist brewing up an explosive mixture in his garage. This is the story about a senior citizen living in Windsor, Colorado who awoke to the sounds of a loud explosion coming from her garage… and you won't believe what happened.

It is 2:00 o'clock in the morning and I awoke to this terrible loud exploding sound. I didn't know if it came from outside or inside of my house. My dog started barking, and I quickly turned on all the lights.Since I live alone I was scared, I thought someone broke the window. I ran around in the house checking, but couldn't find anything. Then I thought someone broke into my garage. I grabbed my dog and carefully opened the garage door to find a big mess of ice thrown everywhere. First I thought the roof caved in under the snow, because all the white crunchy stuff that was all over my car, all over on the wall in one corner above a table, all over the cement floor. Things were knocked down, it looked like a war zone. What could have happened???

Then I saw a mangled piece of plastic on the ground, and suddenly it hit me what expired in my cold garage. During the day, when I carried my groceries from the car, one of the bags was about to tear from the weight, so I took a bottle of Canada Dry carbonated water out of the paper bag and put it on the table in the garage, and I completely forgot about it. During the night the contents froze and the bottle exploded with a big bang, throwing the frozen carbonated water all over everything that was nearby. Even the top of my garbage bin that was at the other end of the garage was covered with the frozen remains of the soda.

When I first saw the pictures, I thought that someone was sending me a photo of the aftermath of a dry ice bomb. But the story checks out… and it wasn't even Diet Coke or a flavored beverage. So, you know the first thing I had to do, right? I bought a bottle of Canada Dry carbonated water and stuck it outside during this recent cold spell that brought below zero temperatures to Colorado. I'm please to report that the bottle froze rock solid, but no explosion. Maybe I got a bad bottle. So, I headed back to the store to get one of everything I could find in hopes of recreating the experience (just for scientific proof, of course). I'll let you know what happens.

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Anything like this ever happen to you?

35 replies
  1. Brian
    Brian says:

    It’s happened to me! As a “edu-tainment” professional, I tend to buy a wide variety of unusual supplies. One of the shows I do has a variety of science demos, including the mentos/diet coke. So last winter, I purchased ten bottles of diet coke on sale and left them in my trunk. Two weeks later, after a cold spell of five days well below zero, I opened up my trunk to see several of the bottles broken open. I don’t believe it had anything to do with the carbonation, but more likely to do with the liquid expanding as it froze.

    Reply
  2. Erica
    Erica says:

    Yeah, Wisconsin winters and diet coke do not mix. It was January and I was bringing a 12 pack of soda with me to school, but had my hands full and didn’t take it in. When I returned to my car later in the day all but two of the cans had completely exploded, the tops blown right off. The syrupy part of the soda was shot from the backseat to the roof and front windshield. I was still finding droplets of dried soda months later in places I never thought to look. I agree with the comment above about it being the expanding of the water, based on the shape of the cans and also the icy subbstance left behind while the syrup (which was not frozen was propelled.

    Reply
  3. Steve Spangler
    Steve Spangler says:

    There’s more to the story…

    The photo that the woman from Windsor, Colorado sent me resembled the aftermath from a dry ice bomb. I just couldn’t imagine freezing water would produce those results. So, I froze six 2-liter bottles of soda during our cold spell in Colorado two nights ago (the temperature got down to 2 degrees Fahrenheit. The next morning I found the bottles still intact but the contents was frozen solid – no explosion. I remembered the Windsor lady saying the bottle was on a table in the garage, and the thought crosed my mind that maybe the bottle froze and fell off the table. So, I dropped the bottle on the ground – thud – nothing happened. I picked the bottle up and dropped it again, but this time the top of the bottle hit the ground… and… KABOOM! The bottle exploded with the sound of a gun shot. Three of the remaining five bottles exploded with an equal force.

    Finally… all of this makes sense. I believe the bottle of Canada Dry Seltzer Water froze in the woman’s garage, the pressure of the frozen water changed the shape of the bottle just enough to cause it to tip over and fall off the table. The top of the bottle hit the ground causing the cap to shatter, instantly releasing the pressure inside the bottle (estimated to be around 180 PSI) and the bottle exploded.

    When my dropped bottle exploded, the flying soda that covered the sidewalk and the side of my house had the consistency of a Slurpy. Better still, the frozen soda crackled and popped like someone eating Pop Rocks. The carbon dioxide was still escaping from the frozen soda!

    Did I grab any video? Yes! I’ll get it posted to YouTube and post something here.

    Reply
  4. Lisa Schoneman
    Lisa Schoneman says:

    In Minnesota, anything liquid and the cold do not mix, but you can get some cool effects!! You can blow bubbles outside when it is below zero and they will shatter like glass when you touch them. You can also boil water and throw it in the air and it instantly freezes in the air! A pretty cool way to talk about the properties of matter!!
    I do agree with Erica that the top of pop cans can explode right off. We had some teachers at my school put pop cans inbetween the windows and the snuffers and they exploded during the school day. What a mess to clean up off the windows, but the kids were very excited about it!! What a great way to explore science-when it isn’t even planned!!

    Reply
  5. luc dugas
    luc dugas says:

    a great deal of co2 gaz is dissolved in water to make carbonated beverages. when temparature falls below 0 celcius degree the water freezes and the co2 is evacuated from ice since ice cannot hold as much co2 as liquid water. this why a huge pressure builds up in the small space under the cap of the bottle. the colder the weather the faster the bottle will explode. luc

    Reply
  6. Shadow
    Shadow says:

    well seeing this reminds me of what happens when you leave soda in the freezer it well explode because the liquid freezes and expands and plows up.

    Reply
  7. Reinhard Koller
    Reinhard Koller says:

    I just had a 2 liter bottle of Coke Zero explode in my refrigerator. I guess it was set a tad too cold. Yes, it sounded like a bomb went off and I could feel the house shake when it exploded. The force of the explosion absolutely destroyed the inside of the refrigerator door. If I had not seen this with my own eyes I wouldn’t have believed it.

    Reply
  8. Linda Allendorph
    Linda Allendorph says:

    I just had a similar explosion with a 2-liter bottle of Canada Dry Ginger ale. We were coming out of our church after choir/band practice to find a mostly frozen 2 liter bottle. Being the good citizen that I am :), I picked it up to take home and recycle. It remained on the floor of the car with the heat on it for about 10 minutes. When we got home, I decided to drain what little liquid wasn’t frozen (it was 9 last night) and let the inside of the icy bottle thaw. As I unscrewed the top I dropped the bottle in the sink and it exploded in the sink and shot its icy matter all over the kitchen! Good thing I hadn’t yet taken off my GoreTEX coat! So, was it the thawing of the liquid, dropping it, or opening it that caused the explosion?

    Reply
  9. Leon
    Leon says:

    A few years ago (ok, many years ago) I used to explode soda bottle with a mixture of milk and the chlorine powder you use in swimming pools. Gives a pretty cool explosion and LOUD boom, and sometimes the bottle shoots out in the air, but I guess it’s kind of toxic. Oh well, I was young and irresponsible then…

    I would take a one liter soda bottle, put about half an inch of the chlorine powder, then fill halfway with milk, put the cap on shake for 2 seconds and RUN. Sometimes it blows up after 5 seconds, sometimes it takes up to 45 seconds. There’s one time where I had the classic “I don’t think it’s working, maybe we should go check… BOOM” discussion.

    Should not put too much of the stuff in the bottle. If you do, it might explode in your face. I heard of two kids in my neighbourhood who lost a few fingers doing it in their garage. One of my friends felt kinda bad, cuz he was the one who had started that craze amongst the neighbourhood kids.

    Actually, don’t try this. Kids are so stupid. It’s frigging dangerous. If you don’t get hurt by the blast, inhaling that smoke is toxic.

    Little anecdote: Once, the cops were tipped off about us exploding these in a park, so they were going around in their car looking for us. We went into another park, a mile away, think they wouldn’t find us, and we kept on doing it more. At some point, my friend is shaking the bottle, then we see the cop car going over the sidewalk, into the park, going after us! My friend drops the bottle and starts running away, we run too and the cops are in pursuit, driving on the grass. Then the bottle explodes three feet away from the car as it drives by…

    Thy caught up with us and only gave us a warning though…

    Reply
  10. Bre French
    Bre French says:

    I just had a Barq’s Rootbeer 2 liter bottle explode in my house. I bought it 2 days before and set it on my kitchen counter. At 2:00 in the morning it exploded. We thought someone was breaking into our house. The dogs went crazy barking.
    The Barq’s wasn’t frozen or hot. My house was 75 degrees. It had not been shook up. The bottom of the bottle blew out and it became an airborne missle. There was syrup everywhere in my kitchen and dinning room. The bottle landed 12 feet from where it had been sitting. Barq’s is distributed by Coca-Cola and is in the retro shaped bottle. I called the distributor and they think there was a flaw in the plastic. You think???

    Reply
    • Exie Meredith
      Exie Meredith says:

      I just had the same thing happen to me. I had two 2-liter bottles of 7up on my counter, they were just bought yesterday. It’s about 72 degrees outside and the same in, so no issues with extreme heat or cold…it’s November in Louisiana!… I was just sitting on the couch watching tv, when I heard a very loud bang/pop! I looked up to see the 7 up bottle next to be on the chair approxmately 10 feet from where it started and 2 liters of 7 up ALL OVER MY HOUSE…
      I don’t understand what could have happened, the sodas have not been touched since being set on the counter!
      The bottle exploded close to the bottom, the top and cap is still sealed.
      Freaked me out!
      Does anyone have any ideas?

      Reply
  11. gelato
    gelato says:

    During a new years party, my sister was holding two bottles of sparkling grape juice (for the kids) and she came down the stairs with them. She walked into the room and asked “does anyone want wine?” At that moment there was a loud bang and the bottle exploded leaving just the neck of the bottle where my sister was holding it. Of course, grape juice got all over the wall, the floor and her. It was not freezing outside however the bottle was just removed from the refrigerator. The top was still closed. Could it have been shaken up while coming down the stairs? Or was there maybe a crack in the glass?

    Reply
  12. F M Davidson
    F M Davidson says:

    Last week (05.01.10)in the Scottish Borders I left a 2litre bottle of diet coke in the rear of my hatchback, which was not garaged. 5 days later I found a pile of brownish crystals where the bottle had been, The bottle was a couple of feet away, split up the side and with cap still firmly in place. Frozen foam deposits were found on the front seats and footwells.

    Reply
  13. Heather
    Heather says:

    Hi Steve! I put a can of Diet Coke in the freezer section of a small fridge at work to cool it down quickly to drink on my way home, but I accidentally forgot about it. In the morning when I returned to work, the soda bottle had exploded (the can was destroyed) and the force from the explosion had forced the door to the fridge open and of course there was soda and ice EVERYWHERE!!! Scientific explanation???

    Reply
  14. Banana Man
    Banana Man says:

    That once happened to me when I was in the Marines. In the barracks we had mini fridges. One day I had a 2 liter of soda and a six pack from somewhere and suck it in the fridge. During chow I noticed the soda had frozen so I adjusted the temperature a little warmer and shut the door. After work I came home to find my barracks door open and and a my room mate and several Marines inside. They were surrounding a fridge with the door wide open. My six pack had been shattered and the shrapnel scattered all over along with water and some melting chunks of ice. Some of the shelves and a rail for one of the door shelves were smashed and tossed.
    I hypothesize that as the ice crystals formed, they purged the CO2. This CO2 remained trapped in the ice until I allowed it to melt and release the bubbles. The resulting pressure reached well over 100psi and ruptured the bottle causing my great sorrow over the beer.

    Reply
  15. just now...
    just now... says:

    I took my 2 liter bottle of Ginger Ale i bought from Walmart out of the fridge, set it on the counter, and barely twisted the cab when it shot off like a gun, it was very loud. My ears are still ringing and my hand it stinging from getting hit by the cap. Then it looked as if there was smoke coming out of it, a fog of some sort.

    Hope its safe to drink, im thirsty..

    Reply
  16. christmas explosion
    christmas explosion says:

    We had set a 2 liter of diet coke outside and forgot about it on christmas eve. The next day, when it was found frozen, we brought it into the house to “thaw”. We set it on the counter of our kitchen the temperature was about 72 degrees. Everything was fine for what I would say was about 10 minutes before there was an incredible blast. The diet coke exploded so violently that the frozen liquid caused lacerations on people in the nearby area. It also damaged the dry wall 20 feet away, not to mention the head/ear aches. Thank god the kids were in the other room. Just looked at the label and there was not one warning or store at temperature. I remember purposely freezing these as a kid for a frozen treat. I have never seen anything like this in my life, if I hadnt seen it with my own eyes I wouldnt believe it.

    Reply
  17. Debra
    Debra says:

    Yesterday I went to a convenience store and was standing in line behind a women and her two children. She was buying some candy and couple of 2 liters. The clerk put the 2-2 liters in a plastic bag. When the woman picked up the bag..a 2 liter bottle of Diet Coke dropped out of the bottom and hit the floor. When the bottle hit…it exploded and took off like a rocket..The bottle hit me in my upper left chest area…I didn’t even know what happened for a few minutes. The bottle wasn’t frozen but did explode upon impact. I saw stars. Before I even left the store I had a bruise forming on my collarbone. Today I am scared to be around 2 liter bottles. What luck huh ? Today I have a bruise almost 4 inches in diameter on my collarbone. These bottles are dangerous.

    Reply
  18. mally
    mally says:

    Today at 2:10 on the am a 7up bottle just exploted inside the cabinets im a schock because its summer on Puerto Rico and the tempeture its not cold like to freeze or something its summer!!. Anyway i want to know what cause this.

    Reply
  19. Ami
    Ami says:

    Came home from a short vacation to find a half full bottle of gingerale had exploded in our house. There was no drastic change in temperature or any other unusual conditions. We found shards of plastic 20 feet from where the bottle had been. What a mess! Will the fermenting smell ever go away?

    Reply
  20. Susan Wells
    Susan Wells says:

    Yikes. That sounds like quite a mess. I’m unsure about the fermented smell coming from the ginger ale. I would make sure everything was cleaned up real good and baking soda may help with the smell.

    Reply
  21. adrian
    adrian says:

    This thing happened to me. I left a Coke diet in the fridge for about 8 hours then my fridge was filled with frozen ice and there was a big bang before that

    Reply
  22. Michelle Honey
    Michelle Honey says:

    I had a glass bottle of unopened rootbeer in the backseat of my car that one of my children had forgotten. The outside temperature was 82 degrees and when I went out to my car after having worked all day, it had exploded w/enough force that it coated the inside of my car w/glass shrapnel and soda. I even found a pinky sized chunk stuck in the ceiling. I had never heard of that happening before.

    Reply
  23. Thomas Plustwik
    Thomas Plustwik says:

    Bottle of Voss sparkling water spontaneously failed and exploded and the bottle neck and with lid attached struck me in the face. 2″ deep laceration above right cheekbone.
    I never touched the bottle, it came in contact with another bottle and exploded as I gently slid a partially open box whilst performing restocking duties at a fine dining restaurant.
    It is an uncommon but real occurrence and I need help from a bottle expert, product liability attorney and would like to hear from any victims of this phenomenon.
    Is there a precedent?
    Thank you.

    Reply
  24. mary
    mary says:

    hi i am 11 years old and a fan of steve spangler.Today I found a bottle of frozen diet coke from the other day.Then accidentaly knocked it over and everyone heard it.My ears are still ringing.The plastic bottle landed about 12 feet away
    Thanks

    Reply
  25. Brunner
    Brunner says:

    I once had a can of la croix lemon flavoured sparkling water that I forgot in the freezer. The next day I found that it had exploded in the freezer… the entire top of the soda can had been blown off and the rest of the can was turned into metal confetti! The freezer was coated with a snowy frost. Never heard the explosion but it must have been loud! This brand has more carbonation than a regular soda so im thinking this is what caused the unusual results.

    Reply
  26. Truman Bradshaw
    Truman Bradshaw says:

    I had a 2liter bottle of Coke explode sitting on my table. It was not opened,nor was it shakened. It had never been refrigerated. It exploded during the night nobody around it. The plastic lid was found in several pieces, the bottle was found about 1/4th full laying on the floor. My house stays about 78 degrees all the time. It ruined the paint on walls and ceiling and made a terrible sticky mess. Coca COLA won’t even call me back about this. I’m disabled and still cant clean it all up. Please send Me Any thoughts you might have about the cause.

    Reply
  27. Adam
    Adam says:

    Hey everyone about a year ago the same thing happened to me but there were some differences. I had a bottle of diet coke in the car left it for a couple days in there. One day I was thirsty and remembered the bottle in my car . When I got it it was rock solid so I put it about ten feet away from my wood stove . Within 5 min the bottle exploded leaving almost nothing but chunks of plastic and chunks of ice thrown up to 15 feet into the next room. My theory is carbonation expanding in the sealed ice and exploding from pressure buildup within the ice idk just my guess. But also I have frozen maybe 15-20 bottles and defrosted them the same way and never had it happened again

    Reply

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