How Do Carbonators Work?

Beverage carbonation adds tiny bubbles to a full-bodied alcoholic drink. Granted, the process infuses soft drinks with fizz. It tickles the tongues of youngsters with effervescence when they pop open a can of soda. But the carbonation effect also adds a sparkle to wine, a dynamic head to tall glasses of beer, and generally adds a kick to adult drinks. Let’s see how carbonators work.

Demystifying the Carbonation Process

It takes technological know-how to trap countless gas bubbles in a liquid. The gas in question is CO2 (Carbon Dioxide), a medium that’s dissolved into wine’s, soda drinks, and even the beer served at your local pub. In terms of a production environment, the dissolving effect is achieved by using a special carbonator machine. This equipment pumps the beverage into a pressurised tank, which is where the industrial-grade gas injection line adds inert CO2. Basically, the wine or soda is chilled, then the carbon dioxide is released from a reserve tank, at which point the two fluids meet in the primary tank. The food-grade gas dissolves into the beverage. And, like magic, the fizzy liquid is consumption-ready.

The Secret is in The Details

There is, of course, no magic involved, just chemistry and fluid dynamics. There are several pressurised vessels required to make the whole process work properly. A deaerator vessel removes dissolved oxygen. Next, the saturator vessel is equipped with a secondary branch line. This pipe connects to the CO2 tank. Pressure variables alter, valves turn, and a small-pored interface distributes the injected gas until it saturates the beverage, and be it a sparkling wine or the newest energy drink to hit the market. At heart, product excellence is catered for by creating a blend that mates the fluid degassing stage with the carbonation station. An extensive CO2 diffusion phase then blends with the pressure-managed liquid. The recipes of a syrupy soft drink or fermented alcoholic beverage are obviously kept secret, but that recipe really requires the compressed saturation chambers to ensure the effervescent liquid is as full of “bite” as it is full of flavour.

When incorporating a carbonation effect, a carbon dioxide dosage line is added to the beverage production equipment. This inert gas is injected into a saturation vessel. It’s these two pressurised containers that form the core of a carbonator. Preprocessing work is accommodated by a deaerator stage, a tank that removes oxygen, but it’s the saturated gas effect that imparts the mix with effervescence. Naturally, a diffusion mechanism is inserted somewhere in the downstream interface, for the injected CO2 must be properly diffused into the liquid.