A Straight Dope Classic from Cecil's Storehouse of Human Knowledge

Why doesn't Coke dissolve the can?

August 29, 1997

Dear Cecil:

In your book The Straight Dope you state that Coca-Cola will dissolve aluminum. My question is this: How is it that this beverage is sold in aluminum cans without oxidizing them?

Cecil replies:

According to Coke, the cans are "coated with a very thin layer of a type of light, food grade plastic material approved by the FDA." This prevents the highly corrosive contents from dissolving the containers. The unanswered question is, what keeps them from dissolving you?

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