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Rates of reaction

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Chemistry lab report- reactivity series of metals Aim: To investigate and see the reaction of four metals- magnesium, zinc, aluminium and iron with copper sulphate to find out which one is the most reactive and which one the least reactive. Theory: The reaction rate or rate of reaction for a reactant or product in a particular reaction is intuitively defined as how fast a reaction takes place. For example, the oxidation of iron under the atmosphere is a slow reaction which can take many years, but the combustion of butane in a fire is a reaction that takes place in fractions of a second. If there were four metal powders are given and their reactivity was to be found, then we could carry out a displacement reaction. This reaction is carried out using the metal powder given and a weak compound such as copper sulphate in which the metal ion is lower than the metal powder in the reactivity series. Therefore in this reaction, a more reactive metal will displace the metal ion in the compound and thus it will be separated. When a displacement reaction occurs, heat energy is given out which means that the reaction is exothermic. In theory, when a more reactive metal takes part in a displacement reaction, the reaction is more vigorous and exothermic. This happens because the compound on the reactants side is quite unstable and thus breaks up easily and so much energy is not used up. ...read more.


* Take 2 trials for each of the reactions for better accuracy. * If any anomaly is seen, repeat the experiment to correct it and to get accurate results. Qualitative analysis (observations): General observations: > The copper sulphate has a deep blue colour and is an odourless solution. > Magnesium is a fine powder, it is blackish- grey and has a non- shiny appearance and has a very low density. > Aluminium is a dark grey powder with a shiny appearance. It is not a fine powder and has a low density. > Zinc is a fine grey powder with a non-shiny appearance. It is a dense substance > Iron is a metallic grey powder with a shiny appearance. It is not a fine powder and has a high density. Reaction 1: Mg + CuSO4 --> MgSO4 + Cu * As seen the reaction was a very vigorous and exothermic. * Vapours were given out during the reaction. * There was a lot of effervescence and a fizzy noise was heard during the reaction.. * The colour of blue copper sulphate quickly changed to dark green. * When the beaker was felt after the reaction, it was very hot which tells us that the reaction was very exothermic. * The reaction is highly exothermic and the mercury rose very fast in the analogue thermometer. * The copper displaced cannot be seen at all since its colour is much lighter than that of magnesium sulphate. ...read more.


It was also shown that the zinc was more reactive than iron. Evaluation: There were certain errors, which led to certain anomalies and these errors could be: * The more reactive metals were not kept in air tight containers and therefore could have reacted with the oxygen and caused major anomalies in the reaction. * The analogue thermometer is not very sensitive and do not change due to temperature changes and therefore could cause certain anomalies. * The stopwatch was not stopped exactly at 120 seconds thus causing some inaccuracy in the results obtained. * The volume of copper sulphate was measured using a measuring cylinder instead of a burette for better accuracy. Improvements: * The metal powders should have been kept in air-tight containers so that they do not react with the oxygen in the air and therefore cause errors in the experiment. * A digital thermometer could have been used instead of an analogue thermometer so that the temperature rises could have been recorded more accurately. * The copper sulphate could have been poured into the beaker using a burette or pipette instead of a measuring cylinder to get a more accurate result. Conclusion: After performing the experiment it can be concluded that the rate of reaction increases as you go up the reactivity series. From the results shown above magnesium is the most reactive followed by zinc, iron, and then aluminium. Therefore my hypothesis is proved right which was that as you go down the reactivity series the rate of reaction decreases. Siddharth Nair 10 C 1 ...read more.

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