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Unknown Metals

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Introduction

John Saunders 10R Unknown Metals In this experiment I am going to find out what an unknown metal element is by using any technique I can. Here are some of the techniques and how they work. Displacement Reactions: Using a reactivity series of metals I will drop solid metals into liquid solutions of metals. The more reactive metal will join to the liquid, whereas the less reactive metal will not. If a reaction takes place, the solid will join the liquid and be more reactive than the other metal, which will be left on its own. Eg: K + AgSO4 --> KSO4 + Ag Potassium Silver Sulphate Potassium Sulphate Silver NB Metal will not react with itself. This shows that potassium has displaced silver, because it is more reactive. If the mystery metal was placed in silver sulphate, then we could eliminate some other metals that it could not be. If there was a reaction, then it can only be metals that are more reactive than silver. If there is no reaction, then it can only be metals that are less reactive than silver. I would use different solutions and put the metal in - and see which metals it does and does not react with to see what it is. ...read more.

Middle

Gases Released: Similar to the reactions in water or acid, it could react water and acid with the metal and test what gas is given off. Depending on whether it is hydrogen (a lighted splint pops), it is oxygen (a lighted splint glows) or it is carbon dioxide (puts out a lighted splint), we could eliminate metals using this process. Softness: Metals (eg Group 1 metals) are really soft and can be cut quite easily with a knife. If a knife can cut the mystery metal, then it will probably be a Group 1 metal, if it will not cut easily then it will probably be another metal. Unique Properties: This is unusual, but could be a solution for what the metal is. For example, potassium burns with a lilac flame in water and glows incredibly brightly in a flame. These are some unique ways of metals, and metals are identifiable by doing this. Metal Properties: Reactions In H2O / HCl: Metal In HCl In H2O Al Aluminium No reaction at first, vigorous later Hydrogen produced rapidly Cu Copper No reaction No bubbles of Hydrogen No reaction Fe Iron Slow reaction Bubbles slowly produced from iron Rusts very slowly if Oxygen is present Brown hydrated iron oxide produced Pb Lead ...read more.

Conclusion

Lanthanum / Actinium Series Metals: It would be unlikely to be these metals, because these metals are either incredibly rare or man-made in laboratories. It would be unlikely that the school would have these at all, never mind to use in experiments. Overall: Overall, you can't predict at all what the metal is, but I could eliminate some metals it couldn't be. It shouldn't be group I or II metals. I think these highly reactive metals wouldn't realistically be used in some of these experiments. These metals could explode, and the school would want to put our safety before an experiment. Also, it shouldn't be an unreactive or not very reactive metal. If it was, then some of the better experiments for defining one particular metal, such as the reactions or the gases released, would be useless. The metal would probably be a transition metal. Whilst these are hard dense metals, they do react with hydrochloric acid and water, but not so violently they could damage our health. The block on the periodic table also is the largest, so it would be the most varied choice of metals for the metal to be. This, to a certain point, is my prediction for the outcome. For it to be a transition element. 5 1 ...read more.

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