How Temperature Affects the Amount of Carbon Dioxide in Carbonated Beverages?

Researched by Rachel F.


The purpose of this experiment was to determine at which temperature the most carbon dioxide is lost in carbonated beverages. 

I became interested in this idea when I drank one soda fresh out of my refrigerator and another two weeks later and it was sitting out on the counter. The one I drank two weeks later had less carbon dioxide and didnít taste as good, I then wondered if I kept soda at different temperatures how fast would it lose itís carbon dioxide. 

The information gained from this experiment would benefit consumers. They would learn which temperature is best for storing soda. 


My hypothesis is that the warmer temperature soda is stored, the more carbon dioxide it will lose. 

I base my hypothesis on what Tree Top scientist John Baranowski said. He said that in his experience the most carbon dioxide seems to be lost in warm temperatures.


The constants in this study were:
* The same type of soda used 
* The same type of container the soda is kept 
* The same method used for measuring the carbon dioxide and weighing the soda
* The same amount of time that each bottle is kept at each temperature for

The manipulated variable was the temperature at which the soda was stored. 

The responding variable was the amount of carbon dioxide that is lost in the soda.

To measure the responding variable I will weigh the soda container on a scale 

4 Full Two Liter Soda Containers
2 Empty Two Liter Soda Containers
1 Balance
1 Carbon Dioxide Tester
1 Thermometer
1 Carbon Dioxide Pre-Mix Computer


1. Gather six two liter bottles of soda 
2. Test the amount of carbon dioxide in one of the bottles of soda, then record the amount of carbon dioxide in it 
3. After testing the amount of carbon dioxide in one bottle of soda empty the bottle out
4. Empty out two more of the full soda bottles
5. Fill all of the empty bottles with clean water
6. Weigh each bottle of soda and water on a balance and record the weight in a chart
7. Label one bottle of soda and one bottle of water 70*
8. Repeat step seven two more times except label the one bottle of soda and one bottle of water 90* and the last two 110*
9. Place each of the labeled bottles at the temperature they were labeled at
10. Come into the Tree Top lab twice a week and weigh each of the six bottles and record the data in a chart
11. After the bottles have been weighed place them back at the temperature they were stored at
12. Repeat steps 10 and 11 for four weeks
13. After four weeks have passed test the amount of carbon dioxide left in each of the bottles of soda only
14. Empty out all six bottles of soda and water 
15. Dispose of all the bottles


The original purpose of this experiment was to determine at which temperature the most carbon dioxide is lost in carbonated beverages. 

The results of the experiment were that the soda and water kept at 110°F lost the most carbon dioxide and water. 

See the table and graph below
View My Data and Graphs


My hypothesis was that the warmer temperature soda is stored, the more carbon dioxide it will lose. 

The results indicate that this hypothesis should be excepted. The soda and water kept at the highest temperature were the ones that lost the most mass 

Because of the results of this experiment, I wonder if how long soda would keep under high temperatures and low temperatures. I also wonder if soda would be sanitary to drink after being kept at higher temperatures than 110°F. I also wonder if a different type of soda would have different results. 

If I were to conduct this project again I would test more than one type of soda to see if my results vary any. I would also test soda at a temperature lower it is normally stored at in a store I would test the soda at freezing temperature to see of carbon dioxide is lost.


 Carbon dioxide is an inert gas that has many important uses by man and by nature. It is the key ingredient in carbonated beverages and in fire extinguishers. Carbon dioxide also is a part of the processes of photosynthesis and respiration. Many people overlook carbon dioxide's role in nature. Some scientists believe that maintaining the proper balance of carbon dioxide in the Earth's atmosphere is needed for plant and animal survival. Too much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has been linked to global warming which has the potential to cause severe changes in the Earth's weather patterns. Scientists argue whether man and all his machinery are responsible for global warming or whether global warming is a problem at all. The outcome of the debate will continue to have political and economic effects in years to come. If as some scientists believe, recent temperature increases are an indication of "Global Warming," carbon dioxide and the carbon cycle will need to be studied as a possible cause. 


     I.  Characteristics, Properties and Forms

          Carbon dioxide is an inert gas with no color, no odor and a slightly acid taste.  It has only two basic forms, a gas or a solid, usually called "dry ice."  In order for carbon dioxide to take a solid form it must be cooled to a temperature of  -78.5 degrees celsius.  Dry ice is used primarily as a refrigerant, but can also be used for special effects "smoke".  When heated, carbon dioxide's solid form sublimates back into a gas, instead of melting into a liquid like water based ice.  This is why it is called "dry ice."  In its pure form carbon dioxide  ("CO2") is the combination of the molocule of carbon with two molecules of oxygen.

          Carbon dioxide only takes two forms, but is produced in a variety of ways.  The burning of fossil fuels called "combustion" produces carbon dioxide as a byproduct.  One of the most common forms of combustion is the one used in automobile engines, which produce carbon dioxide in the form of exhaust.  All living, breathing creatures produce carbon dioxide through respiration.  Respiration is the process in which air is inhaled, oxygen is absorbed and carbon dioxide is exhaled as a waste product.  Other natural processes that produce carbon dioxide are fermentation and decomposition.  Fermentation involves the tranformation of organic compounds and is the same process used to ferment grapes into wine.  Decompostion is the natural process where carbon based matter is reduced to other elements.  Both processes produce and give off carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

          Like water, carbon dioxide has a natural cycle as it moves from and through the land, sea and air.  The carbon cycle referred to by scientists explains and describes the natural movement of carbon dioxide between the earth's elements.  Carbon dioxide is in the earth's oceans, atmosphere and the earth itself in the form carbon based matter.  The earth's oceans absorb much of the carbon dioxide and act as huge storage areas for the CO2, especially at cooler temperatures.  Oceans are sometimes referred to as "carbon sinks."  The oceans contain about 60 times more carbon dioxide than the atmoshere.  As the oceans are warmed, carbon dioxide is released back into the atmosphere where it is used by plants during the process of photosynthesis.  Like water, carbon dioxide is constantly in motion and nature has its own way of keeping the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere in balance.  Some scientists now believe that man and his machines may be throwing the carbon cycle out of balance which may affect the earth's climate in the future.


       Carbon dioxide has many useful functions in nature.  One of carbon dioxide's most important properties is its use by plants during the photosynthesis process.  During photosynthesis carbon dioxide is converted to energy by plants and oxygen is produced as a byproduct.  Through photosynthesis, plants provide earth's airbreathing creatures, including humans, with the oxygen they need.

            Carbon dioxide is also in the blood system and helps stimulate breathing.  Carbon dioxide in the earth's atmosphere helps create and maintain the earth's temperature.  In the atmosphere, carbon dioxide allows light from the sun to pass through, but traps and reflects some of its radiant heat.  This property, sometimes called the "greenhouse effect", allows the earth's temperature to remain warm enough to support life.  Some scientists fear that increasing levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere may create too much of a greenhouse effect, causing the earth's temperature to rise and its weather patterns to be changed.

            Carbon dioxide plays a big role in nature, but many humans depend on it too.  All carbonated drinks contain dissolved CO2 and for many people, that is what makes them enjoyable.  Carbonated drinks known as sodas or pop are sold in retaurants all over the world.  Soda or pop has been part of the American lifestyle for over 100 years.  Soft drinks with dissolved carbon dioxide were first created in the early 1800's and many of the same basic drinks are still enjoyed today.

            Softdrinks are made by starting out with a company recipe of flavored syrup.  The syrup is then mixed with purified water and carbonated.  It is carbonated by adding carbon dioxide to the liquid under pressure.  Carbon dioxide gives the drinks it fizzy nature, helps enhance the taste and helps prevent the drinks from spoiling.  In carbonated beverages, carbon dioxide is the essential characterizing ingredient.  The only thing that makes each softdrink unique is its flavoring and taste.  In addition to water, syrup or sugar and carbonation, many softdrinks also contain caffeine and artificial colors.  Some of the minor ingredients include acidulants which add a tart taste, potassium, which adds a small amount of nutrients, sodium and natural and artificial sweeteners.  The softdrink industry in this country and the world is enormous.

          Carbon dioxide has more important uses than making pop fizz.  Its natural properties make it perfect in fire supression systems.  Carbon dioxide does not burn and when applied in pressurized form to fires, it smothers the fire so it can't get any oxygen.  Carbon dioxide is the main component of fire extinguishers. Fire needs oxygen.  Carbon dioxide displaces oxygen used by fires and forces the fire to go out.

          Carbon dioxide in different forms is also used in the baking process.   Ordinary baking powder creates a form of carbon dioxide (sodium bicarbonate).  Carbon dioxide is produced by yeast which is used to make bread and is also used in washing soda.  Carbon dioxide is not only essential to nature, it has many man made uses as well.

          The solid form of CO2 is "dry ice."  Dry ice is a very unique refrigerant.  It stays cold much longer than frozen water and doesn't melt.  Dry ice is used for shipping refrigerated items that cannot get wet.  Instead of melting, dry ice simpy sublimates as it warms up.  Dry ice can also be used for refrigerated storage.  Dry ice's effectiveness of cooling is twice that of regular water based ice.  It also produces an inert atmosphere that lowers or inhibits bacterial growth and helps prevent goods from spoiling.


            Carbon dioxide has the ability to trap and reflect certain types of light and heat.  The sun's light passes through the carbon dioxide in the earth's atmosphere and then is trapped which raises the earth's temperature.  This process is similar to light passing through the glass of a greenhouse that traps and creates heat and helps plants to grow.  This process in nature is called the "greenhouse effect."  Some scientists believe that increased burning of fossil fuels is releasing too much carbon dioxide into the atmosphere which may increase the greenhouse effect.   If too much carbon dioxide is released, scientists believe the carbon cycle can be thrown off balance and the earth's temperature will rise with potential negative consequences.

            Global warming is one predicted result of the greenhouse effect caused by increasing levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.  Scientists have researched and measured significantly increased levels of  CO2 in the atmosphere since the industrial revolution and also claim to have measured an increase in the earth's average temperature over the same period.  This leads many scientists to conclude that man and carbon dioxide may be responsible for "global warming."  If warming trends continue,  some predict severe environment and weather changes.

           The facts are that in the last 100 years, carbon dioxide in the earth's atmosphere has increased by almost thirty percent.  During approximately the same time period the global surface temperature also has increased by .5 to 1 degree Farenheit.  The earth's sea levels have increased by four to eight inches and some of the polar ice caps, especially in the north have been melting.  In the next 50 years some scientists predict that the global surface temperature could possible rise 1 to 4.5 degrees Farenheit and 2.2 to 10 degrees in the next century.  If so, the earth's sea levels could rise by as much as two feet.  While these measurements don't seem like much,  even small variations in the earth's temperature or sea levels can have severe effects in parts of the earth's climate.  Increased temperatures could cause increased evaporation and more rain in parts of the world.   Increased sea levels could cause flooding in others causing large areas to become submerged.  In general,  scientists alarmed by the effects of global warming believe climate changes may lead to millions of acres of land turning into deserts which could cause widespread hunger.  

         However, not all scientists believe global warming is a significant problem or that it is created by man.  Some say there may have been a slight increase in the earth's temperature, but nothing abnormal, and that the predictions of global warming are exaggerated.  Others say that the earth is simply going through natural climate changes caused by the end of an ice age or the magnetic cycles of the sun.  Today the "cause and effect" of global warming is still hotly debated.

       Increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide are not the only explanation for global warming.  Some scientists believe that changes in the sun's brightness is a better explantion for the slight warming of the earth's surface.  The sun undergoes magnetic cycles that last about 22 years.  In those 22 years, the sun reaches it's brightest stage (burns the hottest) and slowly gets dimmer (and cools).   Scientists measuring the sun's magnetic cycle believe there is a close correlation between the sun's cycle and the earth's temperature.  The temperature rises slightly when the sun's cycle is at its peak and cools slightly as it dims.  The brighter the sun burns, the higher the global surface temperature.  Scientists tracking the sun's cycle believe that there has not been a significant increase in the earth's temperature when the natural effects of the sun are factored out, or that the man-caused effects of any global warming are overstated.  If true, the human effects of global warming could be much smaller than some scientists and politicians make it seem.

        Another even more simple explanation for the earth's recent warming is natural drought and climate changes.  The earth may be going through a natural warming stage as one more "ice age" ends.  Scientists have measured and predicted that the earth has gone through many warming and cooling periods (ice ages) over time and there is no evidence that recent temperature changes are abnormal.  Today, while global warming has been studied for some time, nothing is certain.  Scientists will continue to theorize about the cause, effects and solutions to global warming.

        As of today, global warming seems to be a fact, but its long term effects and man's ability to control it are unknown.  As a precautionary measure many scientists believe that limiting the use of fossil fuels will somewhat reduce or prevent the long term effect of global warming.  Others believe that humans don't significantly contribute to global warming and reducing the burning of fossil fuel won't make a difference.  There are politicians on both sides as well.  Clearly, reduction of processes that release greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide into the atmosphere is one possible solution.

       The industrialized nations including the United States have tried to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases through a treaty called the Kyoto protocol, named after the city in Japan where limits on emissions were discussed.  Under the Kyoto protocol nations agree to limit or reduce their emissions of greenhouse gases.  If adhered to, it is believed the levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere will be significantly reduced.  However, just as scientists don't agree on the cause or threat of global warming, nations have difficulty agreeing on how to reduce its effects.  Many nations, including the United States don't follow the limits set forth in the Kyoto agreement because of its effects on the economy.  Americans want to continue to make, sell and drive their own cars.


   Scientists are still researching the cause and effects of global warming and whether carbon dioxide is a problem. Carbon dioxide has many positive uses and some negative properties. Without carbon dioxide there wouldn't be life on Earth, but too much carbon dioxide created by man may increase its natural "greenhouse effect." Based on most of the  current research, the rise in the Earth's temperature is probably caused in part by human created greenhouse gases. However, there are other explanations that are being explored. Natural changes in climate from the end of an ice age or the sun's normal cycles also may have impacts on the Earth's temperature. Until more data is collected, humans have a responsibility to avoid harming the planet by things within their control. Carbon dioxide may be great in pop, but too much in the air we breathe may cause problems in the future.


Environmental Protection Agency. "Clean Energy." January 16, 2002 <
Environmental Protection Agency. "Climate." January 25, 2002 <
Environmental Protection Agency. "Greenhouse Gas Growth Rate Declines." January 16, 2002 <
Global Warming." January 25, 2002 <
Llanos, Miguel. "A Consensus Emerges Around Global Warming." January 25, 2002 <
Michaels, Patrick. "Carbon Dioxide: A Satanic Gas?." Congressional Testimony. January 1, 2002  <
Rose, Emily Jane.   "Carbon Dioxide," World Book Encyclopedia, 1995. 
Rymsza, Karen. "Why doesnít the earthís oxygen/carbon dioxide ever get out of balance?" January 2, 2002 <
The Dark Reactions of Photosynthesis, Assimilation of Carbon Dioxide and the CALVIN Cycle." January 2, 2002 <


This science project could not have been completed with out the help and assistance of several people. I would like to thank each of them for their help.

* The scientist I worked with was John Baranowski, he is a very busy professional and I would like to give extra thanks for making my project possible in the first place. I also worked with Sue Graf. She helped me with my project when John was not available.

* I would also like to thank Mr. Newkirk and Mrs. Helms, Mr. Newkirk helped me stay on track and pushed me so I got my project finished. Mrs. Helms helped me place things on my project board and helped me organize it.

* My dad helped me stay on track at home,  if I wasnít I wouldnít be able to have  gotten finished with my project.

* My mom drove me to Tree Top and back twice a week and bought my supplies I needed for my project.

* I would like to thank Chris, he helped me create a cover page for my journal and he set up my project in the library because I was going to be late for basketball practice.

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