Ow, my head
April 6, 2011 10:52 PM Subscribe
Are diet shakes packaged in cans made of significantly heavier-gauge metal than carbonated beverages? If so, why?
posted by XMLicious to technology (17 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
I was just examining a can of the "Equate" Walmart generic brand diet shake that is the equivalent of Slim·Fast, purchased from a U.S. store. It appears to me that the can is made of much thicker, heavier metal than the average 12 ounce carbonated beverage cans that I see on grocery shelves here. For example, if I were to try to crush this empty can on my forehead (as I do after finishing every can of a carbonated beverage that I drink, followed by a thunderous belch; in fact, this is required by law in the state that I live in) I think that I would cause myself a significant head injury without actually collapsing the can at all.
I peeled off the printed plastic film wrapper from the can and underneath I discovered what appears to be a machine-welded vertical seam along the side (running parallel to the axis of the cylinder.) That's totally a guess, though, as I don't know anything about welding or manufacturing things out of metal.
I also notice that both the top and bottom circular ends of the can have folded seams, whereas carbonated beverage cans only have a seam at the top and the bottom appears to be continuously molded with the sides of the can.
I seem to recall that the cans of Slim·Fast and other diet shakes I have seen in the past, even the ones that hospitals give to people who aren't doing well with solid food, appeared to be of similar construction.
So my question is: why does the construction of these diet shake cans seem to differ so much from the construction of carbonated beverage cans?
My wild guess would be that it would have something to do with a chemical reaction between the shake's ingredients and the metal or construction of other beverage cans that requires a special design. But even with that premise it seems much heavier-duty than would be necessary or economical so I'm not sure whether that's a viable guess. Or maybe it's an enormous practical joke being played on fat people who like to crush cans against their foreheads.
I would be most interested in answers that can provide at least one or two truthy-looking citations related somehow to the hypothesis of the answer. Or if there's solid manufacturing or engineering experience (or other relevant experience) behind your answer it would be cool if you could drop some really specific truthy-sounding details related to your field so that I can sound really smart when I tell stories about this at cocktail parties. (On the other hand... maybe I should go to more interesting cocktail parties than ones where anecdotes involving how beverage cans are manufactured are a hit...)