Does food coloring somehow evaporate and turn into nothing? Or does the beverage itself being much more color intensive?

I had a bottle of Gatorade, colored Lemon-Lime (and flavored as such). I noticed that after leaving the bottle in the car during a hot day and returned to the car, that condensation had formed on the top parts of the bottle.

But the condensation is colorless; does this mean it is solely water that is evaporating from the drink itself as condensation occurs, leaving food coloring or the color of the beverage behind?

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    $\begingroup$ Yes. Food colorants generally do not evaporate; the condensate is mostly water. $\endgroup$
    – Greg
    Jun 28 '15 at 8:02
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    – M.A.R.
    Jun 28 '15 at 9:09
  • $\begingroup$ @Greg Curious, is there a reason liquid food coloring doesn't generally evaporate? $\endgroup$
    – yuritsuki
    Jun 28 '15 at 9:32
  • $\begingroup$ @thinlyveiledquestionmark The same reason the bottle doesn't generally evaporate: it has a much higher boiling point than water. It takes much more energy for molecules of the colouring compound to break free of the liquid than for molecules of water. $\endgroup$ Jun 28 '15 at 11:22
  • $\begingroup$ As can be seen in my answer, the food dye's melting point is considerably higher than that of water. $\endgroup$
    – user15489
    Jun 28 '15 at 22:28

Given that the majority of beverages such as Gatorade is water, as stated in the comments, the condensate is predominantly water, as can be seen in the Patent Electrolyte blends providing reduced salty taste (which includes Gatorade), that water amounts to well over 99% by composition, of course this will vary. The dyes themselves don't make up much of the volume.

A common food dye used, according to the Indiana University online experiment webpage How Much Red Dye is in My Gatorade®? , is the red dye, also known as 'Allura Red'

its properties according to the Wikipedia page are stated as:

It usually comes as a sodium salt, but can also be used as both calcium and potassium salts. It is soluble in water; Its melting point is above 300 °C (572 °F).

It is likely that the majority of the food dye based salts would remain in solution.

Any salts (such as the example above), transported with the evaporating/condensing water would be too small of a concentration to cause any visible effects.

A similar question and answer is Does salt vaporise?


Yes, in a rough sense, components of the mixture evaporate separately (this is a simplification which ignores things like azeotropes) with their individual vapor pressures. This is why distillation works.

In your gatorade example, the condensate is indeed pure water. In fact, the same principle is used to purify water using something called a solar still. The remaining gatorade at the bottom will have a deeper color, and taste more strongly, in proportion to how much water evaporated - but you won't notice this without accurate assays because of how small the amount of evaporated water is (if you manage to evaporate say 90% of the water the remainder will be 10 times more concentrated, which you can notice).

If you want an experiment, try leaving a shot glass of gatorade in a well-ventilated area with low humidity. After days or weeks the level of fluid will be half of what it was or less. Now buy another fresh gatorade of the same kind and compare taste, color (put both in shot glasses) of both.

  • $\begingroup$ The experiment you suggest doesn't seem safe: I'd expect all kinds of bacterial and/or fungal contamination after leaving a sugary liquid out in the open for a week. A swan-neck flask would be a better bet but then we're into the whole drinking-from-laboratory-glassware thing. $\endgroup$ Jun 29 '15 at 7:22
  • $\begingroup$ @DavidRicherby There isn't a lot of bacteria or fungus that can just grow on sugar water, so I'd be surprised. Also, I doubt Gatorade is sterile, so chances are it's already contaminated. $\endgroup$
    – Superbest
    Jun 29 '15 at 7:28

I thought the answer was that condensation is on the outside. As such, it's the colorless water from the air, not the Gatorade, that lacks color.

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    $\begingroup$ wat :( The condensation forms on the inside of a sealed Gatorade bottle in the hot sun. $\endgroup$
    – yuritsuki
    Jun 29 '15 at 3:37
  • $\begingroup$ This is condensation inside the bottle from being left in a hot place, not condensation on the outside of the bottle from the bottle being moved from a cold place (e.g., the fridge) to a warm, relatively humid place. $\endgroup$ Jun 29 '15 at 7:23
  • $\begingroup$ But still - Welcome to chemistry.SE! $\endgroup$ Jul 1 '15 at 4:26

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