General Question

Pandora's avatar

Can someone help explain how a closed soda can rupture from a pin hole?

Asked by Pandora (29756points) August 13th, 2010

I left my sodas in the garage, in the heat. I know that was a big mistake but as soon as I started to move some they started spewing soda from the side of the can. Only 3 of them did that. Does that mean that someone might’ve injected something on the side of it. I’ve only seen sodas rupture from the pressure on the top of the can where it opens when it is left in the freezer. Or are they designed to do this in high heat to keep from exploding?
Do you think any of them are safe to drink? Or is it just from the heat.

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17 Answers

Rarebear's avatar

How does it happen? The pressure inside the can is much higher than the pressure outside the can, and the aluminum isn’t strong enough to handle it. If someone had punctured the can with a pin then it would have leaked right away. Likely, the cans were a little old and maybe had a defect or dent in the metal from handling. When the pressure rose, it broke at that weak point.

Austinlad's avatar

As far as drinking it… why?

Rarebear's avatar

I’m with @Austinlad I wouldn’t drink it. Just get a new case of Pepsi and keep it in the house.

wilhel1812's avatar

Well I’d sure drink it. Just cool it first. What’s the worst thing that could happen, right?

Pandora's avatar

I guess I’m a bit paranoid with stories of food being tampered with in supermarkets or in factories from disgrunted workers.
@Rarebear You have a point. I guess I was just expecting it to gush from the top of the can like it does when it gets over frozen. Just figured the weakest point would be where it is designed to pop off easily.
Guess I’ll be drinking the cans that survive. :)

Vortico's avatar

I’m with @wilhel1812. I would drink it and wouldn’t see a problem with it. The worst case scenario is that they’ve turned flat.

And the tops aren’t necessarily weak. The only way you can get them open is use the tab for lots of leverage.

lilikoi's avatar

Soda cans are pressurized. Something punctured the aluminum can wall. Boom.

wilhel1812's avatar

@lilikoi
These cans heated —> the pressure increased
The cans cooled —> the pressure went back to normal
No worries.

RocketGuy's avatar

The side of a can is really thin. You might have scraped up against something sharp, which punctured the cans. As @Vortico states, the soda in the leaky cans is prob. just flat. The rest is still good.

YARNLADY's avatar

Take it back – never drink anything that has or could have been tampered with.

jerv's avatar

I have “detonated” enough soda cans in a variety of interesting manners in my day that I am rather amused that you are confused. I guess I just have more experience with certain forms of destruction than most people :P

Personally, I would not drink from the damaged cans, but that is for other reasons, as I do not believe that anybody has been tampering with your soda, but the leaking cans will likely be flatter than Hell. The non-leaking cans should be fine, even if they bulged a bit.

BTW, Do not put a soda can in your checked luggage before boarding a plane. Unpressurized cargo holds at 30,000 feet can lead to interesting developments. I forgot it was in my bag and I am just glad that it was a foreign thick steel can as opposed to a domestic thin aluminum one.

john65pennington's avatar

Have you ever noticed that most grocery stores will not sell you a bent can on the shelf? there is a reason for this…..bacteria. keeping your Pepsi out in the heat was of course a bad idea. like the other answer, it could also have been inferior aluminum.

Bottomline, why take the chance of tampering? throw them away and buy more.

wilhel1812's avatar

It worries me how afraid people are to drink these. Soda isn’t supposed to be stored cool, only to be served cool. The undamaged cans is probably just as good as the ones you buy in the store. Soda isn’t even transported in a refrigerated truck.

Throwing away things that are perfectly fine just because you might be worried it might not taste perfect isn’t a good attitude. I know it’s a cliché, but think about the starving kids!

Vortico's avatar

@wilhel1812 Yes, I’m sure billions of people around the world less fortunate than us would absolutely love your busted cans of cola.

wilhel1812's avatar

Heck, send them to me!

RocketGuy's avatar

Since the cans were witnessed to have just started leaking, the microbial contamination would be very small. The squirting action would have expelled most bacterial and mold spores. Should be OK to drink at that time. Of course, if left for many hours after the squirting stopped microbes would enter and grow. You don’t want to drink flat soda with microbes.

jerv's avatar

@RocketGuy Most of the squirting cans I’ve dealt with fall into one of two categories:
1) They squirted when I wasn’t there and are now flat
2) “Squirt” is an understatement and the can is at least half empty

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