Posted in Science & Nature

Badass Weapons Of Nature: Carpenter Ant

There is an extreme number of ant species, each with a unique characteristic. In the case of carpenter ants, they are famous for their strange defence mechanism.

Some species of carpenter ants, such as the Camponotus saundersi, have warrior ants with very large mandibular glands (many times greater than normal ants). When in a battle it judges that it has no chance of winning, the ant rapidly contracts its abdominal muscles to build pressure. When sufficient pressure is reached within the mandibular glands, it explodes violently, shattering the ant in the process. The glands are filled with a sticky, toxic fluid, which is spread all around where the ant used to be, ensnaring the foes. The inflicted enemies are killed by the poison. 
This is the reason why they are sometimes referred to as exploding ants.

It is a bold, yet fearsome sacrifice for the greater good.

Posted in Science & Nature

Mentos Coke Experiment

There is an extremely entertaining experiment that can be done with two simple ingredients found in the local supermarket: Mentos mints and Diet Coke (it is more effective than original Coke). The experiment procedure is as following:

After opening the bottle, quickly drop the Mentos in to the Diet Coke. Run.

As soon as the Mentos falls in, the Coke spurts foam explosively, which shoots up to great heights. Depending on the temperature of the Coke (the warmer the better) and the number of Mentos mints (it is more effective to thread them and drop them all at once), the pillar of foam can rise to a few metres.

This fascinating phenomenon is not caused purely by a chemical reaction, but has more to do with physics. Mentos mints are coated with menthol, which has numerous microscopic dents. When it enters the Coke, the dissolved carbon dioxide forms bubbles that collect in these pits. As they collect, the bubbles expand until the pressure builds past a certain level, causing an explosion. 

The most important point is that if this experiment is not performed outside, one could end up cleaning a sticky room for days.