Feel the Sugar Rush

An investigation into the density of different soft drinks.


Soft drinks are notorious for their high sugar content, but in recent years, soft drink companies have came up with "healthier" versions with less sugar. However, changes in the sugar content of these soft drinks have drastically affected their density. Some research has even claimed that soft drinks with less sugar float, while regular ones sink. For many people, the results are very hard to believe! This experiment is a chance to finally test the seemingly incredible hypothesis. In the lab, the experimenters will calculate the densities (by find the mass in grams and volume in ml) of each drink and attempt to answer the age-old question: Does the amount of sugar of different soft drinks affect their densities and buoyancy?

Safety Equipment

  • No safety equipment is needed because there would not be any direct contact with dangerous or potential hazardous materials.

Safety Procedures

  • Do not shake, dent, open, or drop the cans of soda to altering the results.
  • Be careful when taking the cans in and out of the glass beakers or tub.


  1. 12 oz can of Coke

  2. 12 oz can of Diet Coke

  3. 12 oz can of Coke Zero

  4. 12 oz can of Sprite

  5. 12 oz can of Mountain Dew

  6. Triple beam balance/Scale

  7. 2000 ml Beaker

  8. Large 1 Gallon tub

  9. Lab Handout
  10. Writing utensil
  11. Calculator


  1. Obtain the lab handout from the facilitators. Please show all work on the back of the handout or on a separate sheet of paper. All rounding rules apply.

  2. Find the mass of of the Coke can (in grams) using the Triple Beam Balance.

  3. Record the result on the corresponding box in the table (on the lab handout).

  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 for every soft drink.

  5. Read the nutrition facts label on the Coke and record the amount of sugar (in grams) in the corresponding box on the table.

  6. Repeat step 5 for every soft drink.

  7. Fill the beaker with 600mL of water.

  8. Gently put in the Coke can and measure the volume of the can through water displacement. The change in mL of the water is equal to the volume in grams of the soda. i.e. 500 mL = 500 cm3

  9. Repeat steps 7 and 8 for every soda, and record the results in the corresponding box on the table.

  10. Fill the gallon tub about halfway with water.

  11. Put in the can of Coke, and see if it floats. Record the result in the corresponding box on the table.

  12. Take out the can out of the tub.

  13. Repeat steps 11 and 12 for every can.

  14. Using the mass and the volume, find the density (by dividing the mass by the volume) of all 5 cans, and record the results in corresponding box of the table.
  15. After all data are recorded, GENTLY pour the water used in the experiment down the sink and dry the beaker, tub, and soda cans.
  16. Put back all materials to where they originally were.