Surge made out of anti-freeze?

On our trip back from Maine after New Years, my wife and I stopped at an inn in Sturbridge, MA. It was bitterly cold (around 0[sup]o[/sup]F), so I only went back out to the car for things we needed in the room. I left all of our “road snacks” out in the car: chips, cookies, and soft drinks.

When I went out the next morning to pack up, I noticed that my wife’s Dr. Pepper was very slushy, near the point of solidifying. But my bottle of Surge was completely liquid! We had bought both at the same gas station, and they were in the same cooler there.

When we got back on the road, I opened it. Nothing adverse happened. But as I drank it, it didn’t seem like it was very chilled, like other soft drinks that I’ve had after being cooled that much.

Is there something unique in the recipe of Surge that keeps it from freezing and feeling cold when you drink it?

Ask the passerby who stole YOUR Surge and replaced it with the warm one he just found in the lobby.

Best guess:

Even though all your stuff was in the car, and the exterior air was about -14 °C, (1) the temperature inside the car never dropped quite that far–maybe to -3 or so–because of insulation, and (2) your soda was in the sun, whereas your wife’s soda wasn’t. :slight_smile:

Second guess:

Your wife had sloshed her soda around more by drinking more of it, thus causing more of the carbon dioxide to come out of solution. The car interior temperature dropped to about -3 °C. Your soda was protected from freezing by the excess solute remaining.

I think either of these is plausible. It of course has nothing to do with the composition of the two sodas, but for that I’d need more controlled experimental conditions and several replications to average.

(Or I could just go to the corner store and read the labels. :))


For the record, and tangentially related to the OP’s question:

At least five or six years ago, Dr.Pepper’s last ingredient listed on the can was… wait for it… Polyethylene Glycol. Yep, Dr.Pepper had antifreeze in it. I saw it myself, this ain’t no UL.

It doesn’t anymore, though. I wonder why they changed the recipe…

Don’t confuse polyethylene glycol with ethylene glycol or propylene glycol, all different compounds. The polyethylene glycol is used as an antifoaming agent:

And you can usually find propylene glycol in toothpaste. It isn’t considered toxic like it’s antifreeze brother, ethylene glycol.

Was it a Diet Dr Pepper by any chance? Since Nutra-Sweet is so much sweeter than sugar, diet drinks have a lower solute concentration in them, which makes them a little easier to freeze.

I used to see polyethelene glycol and propylene glycol in non diet Mountain Dew, Dr. Pepper aadn in one case a packet of sunflour seeds.

haven’t seen it in a few years.

Propylene glycol is being used now (instead of ethylene glycol) in some “less toxic” antifreezes – you know, ones that won’t kill your pets when they lick it up.

I apologize if this is a hijack, but I’ve forgotten all of my chemistry, organic and inorganic alike. Does anyone know why propylene glycol is less toxic to living systems than ethylene glycol?

A related observation; two cans put in the freezer and forgotten. The Diet Coke had expanded stretching the top and bottom of the can outwards into a convex shape. The regular Coke can was not visibly affected.

On an interesting related note, over the holidays we were over at an aunt’s place, where they stored soft drinks in the garage (due to the freezing temperatures in Illinois). When I took out a Squirt and opened it, you could see that it was clear and liquid, but you could see it cloud up and turn to slush before your eyes. Very neat effect. I’d say try it at home, but I don’t know if the can will burst at freezer temps.

Compare the calories, that will give you a good idea of how much sugar is in them. It varies quite a bit between soft drinks.

Cans of Coke will burst in freezing temperatures. Back when I lived in upstate New York, I left 2 cans of Coke in the car on a night the temperature droped to near zero (F). The next morning, there was Coke sprayed all over the inside of the car, and the seam had opened a tiny bit at the pull-tab. Must have been a helluva lot of pressure, since both cans were nearly empty and the car was coated from the windshield to the back window.

I accidentally did the opposite. I left two cans of soda on the sidewalk in front of our house. It was about 100[sup]o[/sup]F outside, and the poor cans were surrounded on three sides by brick/concrete. When I came home, one of the cans was just starting to pop a seam, and soda was starting to spray. After it died down, I looked at the other can. It was bulged out where it wasn’t supposed to, and I was afraid it was going to rupture in my hands. I jokingly said to my friend, “Incoming!” then threw the can as high as I could into the air. When it hit my driveway about 30 feet away, it exploded! Not with an “Earth-shattering ‘kaboom’”, but it did rip the can apart and spray soda in about a 15’ radius.