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To establish a reactivity series using voltage.

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CHEMISTRY REACTIVITY SERIES SC1 Aim: To establish a reactivity series using voltage Theory: The reactivity series is like a 'league table' for metals. The most reactive metal is at the top and the least reactive is at the bottom. They are put in order by how they react with water, steam and acids. K Na Ca Mg Al Zn Fe Pb Cu Ag1 * A substance, which donates electrons and so, causes a reduction of another substance. The more reactive a metal the more metals it can displace, however the less reactive metals can displace less metals. Displacement is the reaction in which one element replaces another in a compound. As I said above an element can only displace an element that is lower than itself in the reactivity series. In the reaction below zinc displaces copper from the copper sulphate solution: CuSO4 + Zn Cu + ZnSO4 (ag) (s) (s) (ag) However if zinc had the sulphate then no reaction would take place: ZnSO4 + Cu No reaction (ag) (s) Also the reactivity of an element also can be measured as the metals electrode potentials (how readily an atom is willing to lose an electron to form an ion). ...read more.


Now magnesium is more reactive so it donates the electrons to the copper so the copper becomes a metal and magnesium becomes an ion, the result is a flow of electrons through the external circuit from the magnesium electrode to the copper electrode. This push is measured voltmeter. The greater the push, the greater the voltage. The greater the distance between the metals in the reactivity series, the greater the push and greater voltage. Plan: * Get the six metals: magnesium, zinc, aluminium and lead, copper, silver * The magnesium is the 'control' metal that always stays the same, against each metal * Set up the apparatus as shown in diagram * Attach the positive end to zinc, aluminium, silver, lead or copper. Also attach the negative end to magnesium * Read off the voltage of the voltmeter * Repeat experiment for each metal Diagram: Preliminaries: Pairs of metals (neg- pos) Voltage (V) (different Mg) Voltage (Same Mg) Magnesium- Zinc 0.3V 0.3V Magnesium- Silver 0.7V 1.0V Magnesium- Lead 0.5V 0.9V Magnesium- Aluminium 0.8V 0.4V Magnesium- Copper 0.3V 0.4V After doing my preliminaries I decided on the following criteria: * Wait till stable * Repeat experiment three times and get average * Use 20ml of solution, which will be changed every three times (every metal) ...read more.


As magnesium is releasing electrons the only one that can receive the electrons is Hydrogen, and thus a gas is released. Evaluation: I believe our first results where insufficient to back up my prediction because we were unsure what to do. Also we changed the magnesium every time. The magnesium will have been various sizes and may have reacted differently each time. Our second sets of results were a vast improvement they proved my theory. I believe that even though these results prove my theory they are still not entirely fair. This is because as we did the experiment I sanded the magnesium to remove any oxidation however I was not very precise and sometime removed all oxidation and other times did not. To improve my results I could rather than sanding the magnesium, which is unreliable, I could dip the Magnesium in to a solution of Hydrochloric acid to remove the oxidation. To gain a wider knowledge of the reactivity series I could do more metals and place them in the series. Also I could capture the gas released and measure how much is released rather than just doing it by eye. 1 Ref 1- The Usborne Illustrated Dictionary of Science Page 158 2 Ref 2- Nuffield Chemistry Page 250 diagram figure 14.4 Abigail Male 22nd May 2002 ...read more.

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