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Kaia’s Corrosiveness of Soda 1st Grade Science Fair Project

This spring was the first year my 1st grader, Kaia, was able to participate in her school’s science fair. As a science guy this was probably more exciting for me than her.

We went through several different projects and she picked the one she wanted to do.

She wanted to watch pennies get new again, so we were off and running to test the corrosiveness of soda on pennies.

I hope you enjoy this as much as we did.

Kaia’s Corrosiveness of Soda 1st Grade Science Fair Project


I wanted to see how corrosive soda was. I chose Coca Cola as the soda. To do this I placed 2 pennies in some Coke over night to see if they would get shinier.

corrosiveness of soda


My parents told me that soda is not good for me because it can be very corrosive to my insides.

I think that if I put old, dull pennies into Coke overnight then they will be shinier the next day because the corrosive soda will eat through the old build up on the pennies.


1. I got 2 old dull pennies and a container.

2. I used Coca Cola in this experiment to test my hypothesis.

3. In the morning before school I poured some Coke into a small plastic container and put the pennies in it.

corrosiveness of soda-2

4. Right before I went to bed I flipped the pennies over so both sides would be equally exposed.

5. The next morning I took the pennies out and rinsed them off to look for a change.

6. The pennies were shinier but not as shiny as expected.


After the pennies were in the soda overnight they became shinier, but not as shiny as I’d expected.

I think this is because I used a container that was too shallow and wasn’t able to use enough soda. Also, I would guess that it probably would just take more time to get them as shiny as I’d hoped.

corrosiveness of soda-3

Kaia’s Corrosiveness of Soda 1st Grade Science Fair Project

Why are the pennies shinier?

The pennies got shinier due to a chemical reaction.

That happens when two different chemicals interact and change each other. the pennies are part of this reaction and the Coca Cola is the other part.

Pennies are made of mostly copper, and over time the copper gets dull. This happens because of a chemical reaction.

Copper reacts with air and creates copper oxide, which looks dull and a lot less shiny. This is why new pennies are so shiny. They haven’t had time for copper oxide to form yet.

Coca Cola, and other sugary sodas, contain phosphoric acid. That’s what gives it the tangy taste.

Most sugary sodas have a pH of between 2.5 and 3.5. The pH scale goes from 0-14 with 0 being the most acidic, so you can see that most sodas are very acidic.


When the copper oxide on the pennies and the phosphoric acid in the Coke come into contact with each other, the acid reacts with the copper oxide and dissolves it.

That is how the pennies get shinier.

corrosiveness of soda-4
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