My boyfriend and I are having this debate on whether or not to squeeze the air out of a 2 liter bottle of Coke after opening it. He thinks it will keep the Coke carbonated longer and I disagree. Who is right? — TN, Ft. Collins, CO
Yours is actually a complicated question. After you open the soda, the CO2 dissolved in the soda is no longer in equilibrium with the gas above soda. When you cap the bottle, CO2
will gradually escape from the liquid until it forms a dense gas so that CO2 molecules from that gas return to the liquid solution as often as they leave the solution for the gas. In other words, the equilibrium between dissolved CO2 and gaseous CO2 has to be reestablished.
By shrinking the volume of gas over the soda, your boyfriend reduces the number of CO2 molecules that must enter the gas phase in order to reestablish that equilibrium. BUT, when dense gas develops in the squeezed bottle, the high pressure of that gas will reinflate the bottle to its original size. The benefits of shrinking the gas volume will thus be lost.
To succeed in keeping more of the CO2 molecules in solution, you have to make sure that the squeezed bottle stays squeeze. That’s hard to do. You’re probably better off pouring the soda gently into a smaller bottle, one that just barely holds all of the liquid. That smaller bottle won’t expand as a dense gas of CO2 forms above the liquid soda and the soda will reestablish its equilibrium without losing too many of its dissolved CO2 molecules.