How Does SodaStream Work? Carbonation & Mechanism Explained

Informational

SodaStream White in between a CO2 canister and glass on a table

The best brands of soda makers give instant carbonation to your drinks at a push of a button. SodaStream only takes a few seconds to work, but behind the process are the essential parts that function together to incorporate carbon dioxide into the water and ultimately make delicious sparkling beverages.

In a nutshell, SodaStream works when you install a CO2 canister. When the soda maker’s button is pressed, the canister’s gas is released and travels into the carbonating bottle, thereby starting the carbonation process.

Let’s delve deeper into the crucial aspects that play a significant role in making this popular soda maker work. Keep reading and become a SodaStream expert in no time.

The Science Behind SodaStream’s Carbonation

Some SodaStream models that don’t require batteries or electricity to work only need the CO2 canister.

This cylinder is the very heart that runs the machine since it is the source of carbon dioxide that makes the liquid bubbly. Made from high-grade brass and aluminum, the 60-liter canister contains colorless, odorless, and incombustible gas.

The two factors that play a huge role in the SodaStream carbonation process are temperature and pressure. 

  • Temperature

Comparison of three bottles with different temperatures and fizziness

SodaStream recommends using cold water because it retains more bubbles and dissolves the CO2 faster. Water that is about 45 degrees Fahrenheit can absorb around 3 grams of carbon dioxide, whereas water that is room temperature or 60 degrees Fahrenheit can only absorb 2 grams.

  • Pressure

Man pointing to a bottle's headspace

When CO2 is incorporated into the water and the bottle is covered with the cap, bubbles form and pressure builds up. And since there's no hole where the gas can escape, some of the CO2 is forced to dissolve in the water while the rest is in the headspace of the bottle.

When there is no movement of the CO2 above and in the water, it is known to be at equilibrium. If an unopened bottle of sparkling water reduces temperature, the amount of CO2 it can absorb is reduced, but the equilibrium is still intact. The CO2 in the water has nowhere to go unless the bottle is opened.

So when the bubbly bottle is finally opened, the equilibrium is lost because the CO2 in the water is in excess compared to the CO2 above the water. 

The once dissolved CO2 will escape through the bottle’s mouth and into the atmosphere or through bubbles that rise from within the liquid to the surface, forming a new equilibrium that eventually makes the sparkling beverage flat.

Why Do Sparkling Beverages Seem Acidic?

Opened Bottle of sparkling water

When carbon dioxide is incorporated into water, it alters the taste due to the carbonic acid (H2CO3) formed when CO2 is dissolved in the water. This acid is relatively weak, but it is necessary to add that sharp tone that compliments the drink. It also contains an antibiotic property that prevents bacterial growth in the water.

SodaStream Internal Parts

At a glance, a SodaStream machine looks simple enough. But when you break it down into smaller parts, it has numerous nooks and crannies that hold it together.

  • Battery

Some of the more advanced SodaStream machines use batteries, specifically 3V lithium batteries (CR123A batteries or CR2032 batteries), for the LED lights to work. These lights indicate the level of fizz one wants for a drink and signals when the carbonation process is finished.

Depending on the model, the location of the battery varies. Some are easier to access, while others are not. The image on the left is for SodaStream Fizz, and on the right is for SodaStream Source.

Two battery types for different SodaStream models

  • Carbonation Air Hose

This small black tube serves as the passageway of the carbon dioxide from the CO2 cylinder to the nozzle and ultimately into the SodaStream bottle. If it gets damaged, it may produce leaks and cause the water not to get fizzy enough.

Close-up of carbonating air hose

  • Rubber Seal

This black, round rubber seal is located at the nozzle’s internal part and helps prevent leaks and stabilize the carbonating block. Since it is made of rubber, it can wear off, and replacing it is necessary to avoid any mess when carbonating. 

  • Loader Tab

This is connected to the nozzle, and it’s what holds the bottle in place during carbonation. Others know it as the lever, the one that is pulled outward when inserting the bottle.

Internal Parts

SodaStream manufactures its own CO2 cartridges. This cartridge features a cap and a valve that can open or close when you push the soda maker button.

  • Microchip

Located on the circuit board near the battery, this part of the SodaStream is vital for its functionality. If your soda maker doesn’t work even when the battery is new, consider replacing the microchip.

SodaStream External Parts

External Parts

Different SodaStream bottles are compatible with various SodaStream models. Generally, these bottles and their caps are made from plastic that can last for three years, while other bottles have metal parts.

  • Nozzle

The white stick-like component seen at the front of the machine is called the nozzle. It is part of the loader tab and goes through the bottle’s opening to inject carbon dioxide into the drink. 

  • Casing

Otherwise known as the carbonating block, the case is usually made from durable plastic. The soda maker’s exterior is seen as a sleek piece of equipment that goes well with any kitchen.

The Mechanism Behind SodaStream

SodaStream bottle in the machine being injected with bubbles

Using SodaStream is easy enough. Just load the CO2 canister in the machine to engage the cylinder’s top with the soda maker’s button.

Fill the carbonating bottle with water and secure it tightly in the nozzle. Remember that the nozzle must poke the water. You’ll know how much to fill since SodaStream bottles have a fill line.

From here, all that is left to do is to press the button. When you press it down, the valve of the CO2 cartridge opens, allowing the gas to travel from the cylinder through the air hose, then the nozzle, and straight into the bottle.

The LEDs light up at the same time when the button is pressed. When the button is held down, a buzzing or hissing sound is heard, indicating that it’s time to release it. When you release the button, the valve closes so the gas doesn’t come out. 

Some automatic SodaStream models pump on their own and only require a single push of the button for the soda maker to recognize the level of carbonation you want. After carbonating, remove the SodaStream bottle from the nozzle and enjoy your sparkling drink.

SodaStream Maintenance Tips

Black SodaStream on a kitchen counter

Every component of the SodaStream has a vital role to play. So to prevent damages from happening, here are a few tips and tricks to prolong the lifespan of your soda maker.

  • Replace damaged components as soon as possible

Take note of those components that are already weak and may need replacing. Also, recall how many times you used the CO2 cartridge and prepare a fresh one.

  • Fill the bottle correctly

The fill lines on the SodaStream bottle are an excellent guide for filling the right amount of water. If you put less, the gas may disperse before it reaches the liquid. But if you load too much, the water may overflow and will not be well-carbonated.

  • Only carbonate water

SodaStream recommends only using water because other drinks may cause damage when the liquid overflows. It can carbonate some alcohol and juices, but make sure you don’t overdo it.

  • The machine and bottle is strictly hand wash only

Both the soda maker and the bottle are not dishwasher-safe. You have to wipe down the SodaStream after every use and wash the bottle with water and mild soap. Clean these two regularly to prevent dust buildup and store them in a cabinet.

  • Do not press the button too hard

Be gentle when pressing the button because it can get stuck or loose. Please do not push it too many times because the liquid may overflow or the bottle may explode.

  • Carefully assemble the parts when using

Always put the parts together like the first time you used the machine. One mishap, such as not tightening the cartridge or bottle properly, can cause leaks and overflows that can damage the electrical parts and pose hazards to your safety.

Conclusion

SodaStream is just as impressive as the sparkling drink it produces. This soda maker allows you to appreciate a refreshing fizzy beverage and the innovative process to achieve the perfect carbonation.

As easy as it is to use, it can eventually ruin the SodaStream’s entire mechanism if one component becomes dysfunctional. That’s why it is important to know how SodaStream works so you can quickly figure out what needs to be done on the first signs of trouble.

If you found this article helpful, share it with your fellow SodaStream fans or let us know in the comments below.


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