As I wrote about a month ago, one of the many unusual phenomena Ben Krasnow has produced in his garage is supercritical CO2. As you may recall, Ben machined a custom acrylic pressure vessel so he could get (and give) a good look at a state of matter that most of us have little experience of. Since then Ben has inadvertently had a chance to observe another extremely unusual effect: the carbonation of solid acrylic.

After completing his observations, Ben cooled the pressure chamber down, condensing the supercritical CO2 back into a liquid state at about 750 psi. Then he left it for a week before disassembly. At some point in the process, the hypothesis goes, the high-pressure carbon dioxide diffused into and/or dissolved (the precise term is debatable) the solid acrylic. Once pressure was relieved, it slowly (over the course of several hours) defused back out into the atmosphere, causing the crazing, bubbling, and swelling shown in Ben’s video. Like opening a bottle of really, really, really viscous soda pop. [Thanks, Ben!]

Sean Michael Ragan

Sean Michael Ragan

I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I am a long-time contributor to MAKE magazine and makezine.com. My work has also appeared in ReadyMade, c’t – Magazin für Computertechnik, and The Wall Street Journal.


  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_YDWTIUALKUF4SUTPDQYSJEUECY William

    Drill it

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_YDWTIUALKUF4SUTPDQYSJEUECY William

    Drill it

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_YDWTIUALKUF4SUTPDQYSJEUECY William

    Drill it

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_YDWTIUALKUF4SUTPDQYSJEUECY William

    Drill it

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_YDWTIUALKUF4SUTPDQYSJEUECY William

    Drill it

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_YDWTIUALKUF4SUTPDQYSJEUECY William

    Drill it

  • http://twitter.com/lungofish Joe

    Mmmm… Acrylic soda, just like Mom used to make.

  • http://twitter.com/lungofish Joe

    Mmmm… Acrylic soda, just like Mom used to make.

  • http://twitter.com/lungofish Joe

    Mmmm… Acrylic soda, just like Mom used to make.

  • http://twitter.com/lungofish Joe

    Mmmm… Acrylic soda, just like Mom used to make.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_VPG66V6OSCP5KJFB5N4WDVRDGQ Dusky Frauboy

    “Defused” is what happens to bombs.  I suspect you meant “diffused”.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=556408045 Daniel Conley Paul III

    Carbonic acid is the inorganic compound with the formula H2CO3 (equivalently OC(OH)2). It is also a name sometimes given to solutions of carbon dioxide in water, because such solutions contain small amounts of H2CO3, and reactions proceed as if the main species was H2CO3. Carbonic acid forms two kinds of salts, the carbonates and the bicarbonates. It is a weak acid.
    Taken from wiki but that’s my guess. any moisture with co2 under pressure will make it pretty much.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=556408045 Daniel Conley Paul III

    Carbonic acid is the inorganic compound with the formula H2CO3 (equivalently OC(OH)2). It is also a name sometimes given to solutions of carbon dioxide in water, because such solutions contain small amounts of H2CO3, and reactions proceed as if the main species was H2CO3. Carbonic acid forms two kinds of salts, the carbonates and the bicarbonates. It is a weak acid.
    Taken from wiki but that’s my guess. any moisture with co2 under pressure will make it pretty much.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=556408045 Daniel Conley Paul III

    Carbonic acid is the inorganic compound with the formula H2CO3 (equivalently OC(OH)2). It is also a name sometimes given to solutions of carbon dioxide in water, because such solutions contain small amounts of H2CO3, and reactions proceed as if the main species was H2CO3. Carbonic acid forms two kinds of salts, the carbonates and the bicarbonates. It is a weak acid.
    Taken from wiki but that’s my guess. any moisture with co2 under pressure will make it pretty much.