Recently there’s been some buzz in the news that Pepsi, or more accurately the company’s Russian division, had partnered with a startup by the name of StartRocket to experiment with the idea of putting “billboards” in space. After overwhelmingly negative response to the idea on social media, Pepsi’s official line is that the StartRocket experiment was a one-time partnership, and that the company has no plans to push ahead with a space advertising program “at this time”.
Had this been the first time a worldwide conglomerate like Pepsi had turned their eyes up into the black and saw dollar signs, you might think that humanity’s brief flirtation with space-bound advertisements was nothing but a social media stunt. But the truth of the matter is that companies such as Coca-Cola and Pizza Hut have been trying to get their products off terra firma since the 1980’s. This isn’t even Pepsi’s first attempt, despite what their PR department might want you to believe right about now.
So why haven’t we seen advertisers putting their money into space advertising schemes? Well, we have, actually. They just haven’t been terribly effective and the average person likely has no recollection of them. We’re seeing considerable excitement about spaceflight in the new media right now with billionaires like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos battling to see who can build the most outlandish rockets, but historically, you’d do better getting a 10 second spot during the Super Bowl than plastering your logo on the side of a weather satellite.
In honor of Pepsi’s recent blunder, let’s take a look at some of the standout attempts to conquer advertising’s true true final frontier from the last few decades.
When you think about the materials for your next large dancing robot build, soda bottles might not be the first thing that springs to mind. But they could work, according to TrussFab, a project from a group of students at the Hasso Plattner Instituit. Their system uses empty coke bottles and 3D printed connectors to build large structures, modeled in software that checks their load balance and safety. The team has modeled and built designs up to 5 meters high. Now, the project has taken a step further by adding linear actuators and hinges to the mix so you can create things that move, including a 4-meter high animatronic robot.
Everyone’s seen the Diet Coke and Mentos “experiment” that ends in a brown eruption. But have you seen the Coke and Propane experiment insanity that results in a rocket launch? As [Itay] pointed out when he sent us the tip, this doesn’t need to be lit. The simple act of turning the bottle upside down starts a powerful reaction without any ignition.
Of course it’s the how of this that tickles our brains, but let’s finish the setup. This starts with a bottle of Coke which is about 3/4 full. The head space is displaced by spraying propane into the bottle; propane is heavier than air. All that’s left is to turn the bottle upside down and pray it doesn’t smack anyone in the noggin as it takes off.
In trying to find an explanation for this phenomenon we came across a plausible answer on the Chemistry StackExchange. It points to the Mentos phenomenon combined with the temperature differential caused by the very cold propane. The answering user theorizes that tiny ice crystals form and when the bottle is turned upside down the cold propane and micro crystals rise through the warmer soda acting as a much more rapid catalyst than Mentos alone. Of course this is just a theory so please share your own ideas below.
We thought the folks who microwave stuff outside of a microwave enclosure had their fill of danger but this videos is also one of theirs. It should be no surprise that they also tried the experiment with an ignition source. That video is found after the break and should immediately convince you to never try any of this yourself.
His Ring-A-Day project has him creating customized rings based on reader feedback, and lately the requests have had him searching for a good way to color metal. Anodizing titanium was a sure bet, though creating detailed coloring on a small medium is not an easy task.
[POTUS31] figured that he could gradually anodize different areas of the ring by using laser-cut tape masks, allowing him to selectively oxidize different portions of his creations as he went along. Using the phosphoric acid prevalent in Coke as his oxidizing agent along with a constantly growing daisy-chain of 9-volt batteries, he had a firm grasp on the technique in no time. As you can see in the picture above, the anodizing works quite well, producing vivid colors on the titanium bands without the need for any sort of dye.
[POTUS31’s] favorite color thus far? A rich green that comes from oxidizing the metal at you guessed it – 99 volts.
We don’t really have any titanium lying around, it’s not exactly a cheap material. But this hack that shows you how to anodize titanium in your home laboratory (or kitchen for that matter) and it might help the metal make its way into a future project. It seems the process is not overly difficult or dangerous and it’s possible to achieve a lot of different colors in the finish.
In the image above [PinkFlute] is using Coke Zero, a sugar-free soda, as the chemical agent in the process. The alligator clip attached to the utensil is providing the positive voltage and the yellow wire dipped in the drink is negative. Finish color is determined by the voltage supplied. You can choose various shades of green, purple, yellow, and blue based on a voltage range of about 100V to 20V.
This is one of two anodizing methods shown. the other uses a foam brush dipped in soda with the negative lead clamped onto it. You just brush in the electrified substance to alter the camping spork’s finish.