Activity Series of Metals Lab

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Activity Series Lab-2012


The types of changes that occur during these tests are chemical changes. Chemical changes will usually be tough to reverse, a new substance is created, heat is released, light is released, a solid is made (precipitate,) gas produced or the solution changes in colour. These chemical changes can be cause by decomposition, combustion, synthesis, single displacement or double displacement. The type of reaction that occurs during the tests is a single displacement reaction. This means that one element replaces another element in a compound. The general equation used for this reaction is A + BC -> B + AC. Like most other chemical changes single displacement reactions cannot be reversed. Depending on the activity series of metal some elements will be able to displace the other metal in the compound and some may not.

Single Displacement reactions occur according to the Activity Series of Metal. Based upon experimental evidence reactive metals have been placed in order of reactivity known as the activity series of metal. The activity series is a chart with the most reactive metals on the top and the least reactive metals on the bottom. Lithium is on the top meaning it is the most reactive whereas gold is on the bottom being the least reactive. The order of the metals from most to least reactive corresponds with how easily the metals can replace hydrogen from acids and water. A metal will displace any metal below it on the activity series chart. This is how the outcome can by hypothesised.

         As these chemical reactions occur the energy changes in chemical. In a chemical reaction, bonds are built and broken; chemical bonds are sources of stored energy. Breaking bonds requires more energy whereas creating bonds releases energy. An exothermic reaction occurs when the energy need to break the bond in the reactant is less than the energy released upon the formation of products. In an exothermic reaction heat if release. However Endothermic is the complete opposite, the energy required to break bond in the reactant is greater than the energy released upon the formation of the product. This reaction will feel cold.


To verify that the Activity Series of Metals is valid and 100% accurate and ensure it is truthful about the ability an element has to react and replace another element due to its reactivity and order of the series. This is tested by placing metals into ionic compound aqueous solutions to see if a chemical reaction occurs.


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The tests 2, 5 and 9 were predicted to show no chemical reaction at all. This is due to the fact that according to the activity series of metal, the lone metals were not able to displace the metals in the ionic compounds. The lone metals are lower on the activity series of metal than the metals in the ionic compounds causing the chemical reactions to be not possible.


  • 10 test tubes
  • 10 beakers
  • test tube rack
  • sand paper
  • 10 aluminum pieces
  • 2 iron nails
  • 10 zinc pieces
  • 5 magnesium pieces
  • 5 copper pieces
  • ...

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