Water is necessary to make Coke, but what happens when the process is reversed to turn Coke into water? This art installation shows you how it's done.

Artist Helmut Smits worked with Martien Würdemann of the University of Amsterdam's Synthetic Organic Chemistry Group to design the project which takes a bottle of coke and extracts drinking water from it. So how does the exhibit, called The Real Thing, work? Wired explains the process:

There's a glass bottle of Coca-Cola boiling in a beaker of oil. As the sugary drink boils, it slowly yields water vapor that's then caught in glass piping and transferred into another beaker. In just one day, the machine can convert a bottle of Coke into a glass of clean drinking water. If you've ever seen Waterworld, this will surely sound a little familiar.

Now exactly how much water Smits was able to extract from a bottle of Coke isn't clear. Certainly, this process would result in some loss in the transfer. Plus, as Smits pointed out to Dezeen magazine, it took nine liters of water to make that single liter of Coke in the first place. Are there more efficient ways to get safe, clean drinking water out into the world than a Coke to water transformation? Undoubtedly.

Still, it raises another major water issue: Availability. "In some parts of the world people don't have access to clean drinking water," Smits told Dezeen, "but you can buy a bottle of Coke there."

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Images: Photos by Ronald Smits, via HelmutSmits.nl.