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Applied Chemistry Question

  1. Dec 1, 2005 #1
    Applied Chemistry Question :)


    My roomate poured me a Weller (bourbon) and Coke in a new styrofoam cup. About 15 minutes later, I noticed that all along the bottom-most sections (and on the entire bottom) of the cup, the cup had tiny specks of the drink on the outside of the bottom (and to a lesser extent, the lower sides). But the specks apparently weren't large/strong enough to fall off the cup (like happens sometimes with soft drinks, etc.,).

    My questions is thus:

    Obviously the styrofoam is leaking to some degree. But will the cup ultimately leak no what (drinkable) substance is put in (including plain water)?

    If so, does the Coke and or the bourbon speed up the disintegration of the Stryofroam?? Why?

    My thought is that the acid from the Coke causes the Stryofoam to melt faster. I am not sure if bourbon (or any liquor for that matter) is acidic, so that could also account for a lot of the disintegration, but maybe not.

    Finally, does styrofoam have any particular characteristics that cause the liquid to "cling" to its counterparts inside the cup [or possibly the cup itself]? Why?

    Any and all thoughts are much appreciated. Thanks!

    *Not a HW question
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 1, 2005 #2


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    Homework Helper

    If your coke causes the styrofoam to 'melt', you wouldn't have a cup in the end would you? I don't believe diffusion happens that quickly (i.e. 15 minutes) to be observable anyway, not to mention it would evaporate by that time. What I would suspect is simply a macroscopic hole/leak in your cup or simply condensation.
  4. Dec 1, 2005 #3
    The most probably way you are going to melt that styrofoam cup would be to drink some acetone.
  5. Dec 2, 2005 #4


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    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    comopunds of hydrocarbon nature dissolve to a certain extent in styrofoam (polystyrene), maybe not so much of coke, it's probably the bourbon
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