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The number one use of industrial gases within a soft drink production plant is the use of CO2 for carbonation. To create the desired “bubbles” in soft drinks, carbonic acid (H2CO3) must be created through the carbonation process.
No other method of carbonating soft drinks exists. The CO2 is added to the product via a carbonator. The traditional carbonation process requires vaporized CO2 to be mixed under pressure with temperature controlled water in a carbonator.
The syrup, sweetener and other ingredients are then added. Soft drinks generally use 3.5 – 4.2 volumes of CO2 per one volume of soda with colas requiring the higher carbonation levels and fruit flavors such as lemon and orange typically requiring the lower carbonation levels.
The amount of carbonation can be determined based on the pressure and temperature of the carbonator, which can be calculated using a water/CO2 solubility chart.