A new video from science educators MEL Science shows scientists dissolving a can of soda to reveal one of soft drink manufacturers' best-kept open secrets, the hidden plastic liner inside every aluminum soda, beer, or other beverage can in the world.
Scientists Use Chemistry to Reveal Secret Plastic Liner inside Aluminum Cans
Every time you drink from a can of soda, there is a reason why it doesn't taste like you just drank a mouthful of aluminum foil. For decades, soft drink and beer makers have relied on a hidden liner of plastic epoxy on the inside of the aluminum can to ensure that the acids in the beverage didn't erode the can from the inside, which also made sure that this process also didn't leech aluminum into the beverage itself, affecting the taste--and the safety--of the beverage.
Scientists and people in the beverage industry have known about this for decades, but the public has largely remained oblivious to this fact, which makes the video released by MEL Science all the more fascinating.
Using common household chemicals--though this doesn't mean you should try this at home, please don't--, scientists show how the aluminum can be dissolved in a chemical solution, revealing the hidden plastic liner on the inside. To do this, they used sandpaper to strip the aluminum can of paint, revealing the silvery aluminum underneath. Using a wodden rod fed through the ring pull of the can, they suspend the can inside a large beaker and pour drain cleaner inside the beaker so that it surrounds the can.
After a couple of hours, the drain cleaner will have dissolved the aluminum but not the plastic, showing you the hidden layer that keeps your beverage from tasting like a toxic chemical, or at least more than it does already. Speaking of toxic chemicals, metals don't dissolve in chemical solutions harmlessly. The fumes from this process are very toxic and will likely have found their way inside the open top of the can, poisoning the beverage, so no, it isn't safe to drink. It's still cool to watch though!