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Investigating how the voltage produced by a simple cell is related to the reactivity series.

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Introduction

Investigating how the voltage produced by a simple cell is related to the reactivity series Scientific knowledge Simple cell: 2 different metals that are connected will generate an electric current when placed in an electrolyte. An electrolyte is a conducting solution containing ions. Simple cell Reactivity A metal's reactivity depends on its ability to lose or gain electrons. How a simple cell works: So H ions for example could touch the -ve rod and become discharged producing hydrogen gas. N.B. If there is a flow of electrons between the 2 metals there will be a potential difference created (voltage). Example (metals mg and cu) For mg the metal loses electrons, which flow through the external wire to the cu. Mg dissolves forming mg ions. Cu gains electrons from the mg becoming negatively charged. These electrons begin to repel each other causing the flow to cease. It is possible that the electrons can attract H ions in the electrolyte. Possible key variables 1. Identity of metals 2. Size of metal (surface area) 3. Identity of electrolyte 4. Concentration of the electrolyte 5. Purity of metal 6. Temperature I have chosen to vary the identity of the metals as in my title for the experiment it suggests I do so. ...read more.

Middle

to 2dp Average voltage (v) (2dp) 1 2 3 Lead 0.31 0.37 0.36 0.35 Iron 0.25 0.26 0.27 0.26 Zinc 0.78 0.79 0.86 0.81 Silver -0.01 -0.02 -0.02 -0.02 Tin 0.24 0.27 0.25 0.25 Aluminium 0.54 0.56 0.57 0.56 Magnesium 1.38 1.33 1.36 1.36 Platinium -0.01 -0.01 -0.02 -0.02 This is a table to show the results of another group Identity of metal Out come in volts (v) to 2dp Average voltage (v) (2dp) 1 2 3 Lead 0.37 0.37 0.37 0.37 Iron 0.28 0.28 0.28 0.28 Zinc 0.79 0.80 0.80 0.80 Silver -0.17 -0.17 -0.17 -0.17 Tin 0.23 0.25 0.26 0.25 Aluminium 0.54 0.53 0.53 0.53 Magnesium 1.97 1.47 1.97 1.80 Platinum -0.07 -0.09 -0.03 -0.06 These results are not exactly the same as mine but I did not expect them to be. But they still are similar which shows that we are both on the right track. Explanation for my results As you can see the order of metals is similar in voltage and reactivity series, but there are some errors than can be explained: aluminium does not produce its potential voltage because as soon as it comes into contact with air an oxide layer is formed which will affect the voltage produced. ...read more.

Conclusion

Extending the experiment I could extend this experiment further with more results such as cu and cu being tested in the same simple cell, or more rare reactive metals. Metals used could also be of higher purity. But the best improvement could be at the other end of the reactivity series. I could use a different electrolyte and see how that affected my results (changing any of the suggested variables in my plan would extend my experiment). Accuracy of results Some results will always be more accurate then others as magnesium having an average result of 1.36 is more accurate then silver having an average result of -0.02 this because the result is inaccurate by 0.1 it will have more effect on silver than platinum. A new prediction There are two results that have changed my initial prediction significantly, these being the two negative results silver and platinum because these produced a negative voltage. I now believe that it is the difference in reactivity that produces the voltage. Thus, when a highly reactive metal is placed in a simple cell with a low reactive metal, it produces the biggest voltage. Therefore the bigger the difference in reactivity, the bigger the voltage produced will be. 1 ...read more.

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