Science Course with Ryan Morse: Dancing Dried Cranberries

Beyond the Forecast

(WFRV) – Cranberry sauce is a staple of a Thanksgiving meal. In fact, the cranberry was popular in the diet of Native Americans. They introduced this food too early settlers in the United States according to the University of Vermont.

Of course, the state of Wisconsin is now a very popular producer of cranberries. Check out this quick trick you can do with dried cranberries at the dinner table.

Do it yourself experiment

Materials: cups, sprite (other carbonated soda), water, and dried cranberries which all can be found easily at your local grocery store

Steps:

  1. Fill one cup with water, the other cup with Sprite
  2. Drop the dried cranberries in the water. Nothing happens. The dried cranberries sink to the bottom
  3. Now, drop the dried cranberries in the sprite
What is happening?

It takes a second, but eventually the dried cranberries “dance.”

At first, the dried cranberries sink because they are denser than the soda. Carbon dioxide bubbles attach to the rough surface of the dried cranberries and carry them to the surface, similar to a floatation device. This is a result of the increase in buoyancy.

Dried cranberries will continue to go up and down until the Sprite becomes flat. Most sodas will work, as long as they are carbonated.

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