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Investigating The Reactivity Of The Metals Iron, Magnesium, Zinc, Copper And Calcium And Their Reaction With Hydrochloric Acid.

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Introduction

Investigating The Reactivity Of The Metals Iron, Magnesium, Zinc, Copper And Calcium And Their Reaction With Hydrochloric Acid. Aim The aim of the investigation is to place five metals- zinc, iron, magnesium, calcium and copper- in order of reactivity based on the heat they give out when they react with dilute hydrochloric acid. Prediction I predict that calcium will be the most reactive because of its position in the periodic table and copper will also be the least reactive. I think that this will be the order of reactivity: 1. Calcium 2. Magnesium 3. Zinc 4. Iron 5. Copper All metals will react except copper. This is because all the other metals will displace hydrogen and copper doesn't. In displacement reactions the metal displaces the hydrogen from the acid. Hydrogen is above copper in the reactivity series so copper doesn't displace. Also copper is below hydrogen in the periodic table so its less reactive than hydrogen. A more reactive element is displacing a less reactive element from its compound. Elements that are reactive join to other elements with strong bonds. Elements such as copper, which has a low reactivity, join with other elements only with weak bonds. Metals above copper in the reactivity series reacted to form a salt and hydrogen. For example Zn + H2SO4 ZnSO4 + H2 (From Chemistry Counts by Graham Hill) The zinc will displace hydrogen from the acid. ...read more.

Middle

The selected metals were chosen because of their reactivity in the previous experiment using a normal laboratory thermometer. Analysis As you can see from the graphs I have drawn that calcium gave out the most heat therefore was the most reactive. Calcium was also the fastest to react, which was due to the particles colliding due to the energy they received resulting in more heat and the quickest reaction. Copper was the slowest to react and give out the least heat. It reacted the slowest because its particles had little energy to collide with resulting in the slowest reaction; therefore less heat was given out. Copper is the least reactive as it is below hydrogen and it's less reactive than hydrogen so the displacement reaction cannot take place. The graph clearly shows that calcium was the most reactive and that copper was the least. The stepper gradient for calcium shows that it had a faster reaction and more heat was given out. The graph for copper shows that clearly less heat was given off and it took longer for the copper to react with hydrochloric acid. As you can see the other metals followed the same pattern, they took longer to react and the graph shows this by the gradients of the metals. The steeper the gradient the faster the metal reacted and more heat was given off. The results from the temperature probe clearly show a more accurate temperature reading than a normal thermometer. ...read more.

Conclusion

anomalous results. This could be due to human error or to the fact the equipment wasn't as safe and fair enough to be used in the experiment but overall the results were reliable. These problems can be overcome by using more accurate equipment to measure the temperature apart from using a temperature probe. When using the temperature probe not all of the metals were tested again, due to the amount of time I was given to use the probe. The metals that were tested calcium; iron and zinc will show a clear difference in results from using the probe, as temperatures were more accurate than a normal laboratory thermometer. The conclusions I have made are true for the metals I investigated and other metals would have to be investigated further to see that this is true. Different metals could be used and other liquids could be used i.e. sulphuric acid, nitric acid and water. Investigations could be carried out to show the metals react in air, and water and if these situations will affect the order of reactivity of the metals. Will the results be the same for metals reacted in water as metals reacted in air. Will there be other metals tested to see if there are any metals more reactive than calcium and metals less reactive than copper. Accurate measuring equipment would have to be used to give accurate, clear results are obtained. The good results would present a clear idea of the reactivity of these metals. Further experiments could be carried, using different equipment to see if my conclusions are true about the reactivity of metals. ...read more.

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