Subject Author Replies Views Last Message
Thoughts on your wiki Andrea_Law Andrea_Law 0 53 Dec 16, 2009 by Andrea_Law Andrea_Law
Before experiment feedback stangey stangey 0 43 Dec 10, 2009 by stangey stangey
Test discussion stangey stangey 0 74 Dec 1, 2009 by stangey stangey

Reactivity lab

Aim: To test the following metals: iron, aluminum, copper, magnesium, and zinc to see which one will be most reactive when added with some hydrochloric acid. We will also have to create a fair test to do this and then we will have to rank the metals from 1 to 5 to see which one is most reactive.
Variable table
The type of metal
« Iron
« Aluminum
« Copper
« Magnesium
« Zinc
Dependent (what we measure)
« Put 0.5g of each metal and put it in the acid of 5ml. Cover the mouth of the task tubes with the same kind of balloon and see which one gives off the gas well by seeing how well the balloon expands.
Controls/Constants (keep same)
- Amount of the metal
- Amount of the acid
- Type of balloon
« Estimate the amount of each metal
« Estimate the amount of acid that we are going to use
« Use the same kind of balloon to make sure that they have the same thicknesses or the same properties.

Hypothesis: If we put five elements into the hydrochloric acid, then magnesium will be the most reactive because its valence electrons are further away from the nucleus than the other metals which made it to leave and react well and easily.
Equipment and materials
Metals… (all metals should be in the form of power)
« Iron (0.5g)
« Aluminum (0.5g)
« Copper (0.5g)
« Magnesium (0.5g)
« Zinc (0.5g)
Hydrochloric acid (5ml x 5)
Balloons (need 5)
Test tubes
Test tube holder
Camera to take a photo

Plate (5)

Diagram of apparatus

1. Make sure you are wearing all safety equipment needed: Coat and glasses plus you need to make sure that you are standing up when doing the experiment.
2. Gather all materials you will need for the experiment
3. Measure the metals. It should be 0.5g
4. Measure the acid. It should be 5ml
5. Put 0.5g magnesium in the plate.
6. Do the same as number three for copper, aluminium, zinc and iron
7. Get hydrochloric acid and pure 5ml in each test tube
8. Make a paper funnel
9. Using a funnel, put each metal powder in the test tube
10. Cover it with the balloon
11. Find out which one reacts well by looking at how well the balloon expand
Observation table
Which metal is the most reactive and which one is the least reactive?
- We can hardly see the bubbles going up (but we still can see it).
- It took some time to sink.
- The balloon is not inflating.

The balloon is not inflating. Aluminum floats on top of the hydrochloric acid.
The copper is staying afloat. There is no air in the balloon. Some of the copper begins to settle.
5 (the least reactive)
The water turned milky white and you can still see some of the magnesium particles. The balloon is inflating and we can see bubbles going up
1 (the most reactive)
It sank down to the bottom.
The balloon is inflating a bit but not as magnesium.
After sometime, there are chunks floating up.
We can see some bubbles going up


- We managed to test all of the metals in the time given time without any problems. We were also able to (after checking reactivity) rank the metals from one to five for reactivity. The most reactive one was magnesium, then zinc. The least reactive one was copper.
- The result supports our hypothesis. We thought that the magnesium is the most reactive one because it is far away from the nucleus. After having experiment, we can see magnesium making bubbles a lot, turning into milky liquid and balloon expanding. The outer electrons are very far from the attractive pull of the positive nucleus so it is easy for them to leave and react with hydrochloric acid” (Law). We can also compare this with published data because we have found a site which states the following "Aluminum reacts analogously to zinc: quite lively with concentrated hydrochloric acid. Copper, on the other hand, is completely unreactive. This can be explained by looking at its position in the electrochemical series of metals. “(Meixner).

- I think the result we got is not really reliable because we had some trouble getting the element into the test tube and also because our result is a bit different from others and also from people who had a lot of knowledge about this topic such as our teacher and also the internet.
- I think our method is good, it is easy to understand and to follow, and another person can follow it and do a good experiment. The method told you what to do but ours is not detailed enough. In method 5, we said that, Repeat steps 3 and 4 for all metals in whatever order wanted, but we didn't tell them what is in the choice for the order, so we missed out that but basically, our method is good.
- I don't think this is a fair test because when we did the experiment with aluminum, not 0.5g got in the test tube, although it doesn't change the result too much but it will change a bit which make it not a fair test. In experiments with other elements, this problem still happens but the different is the amount of solid got in the test tube.

Way to improve it
Not the same amount of solid for 5 elements got put into the test-tube containing hydrochloric acid.
I think maybe next time we measure the amount of solid for each element in the test tube and then we pure hydrochloric acid in.
The amount of time we observe.
Elements that we did the test first such as magnesium, we observe it more than element that we test last. I think next time we should have a stop watch and only write down observation for 1 minute or more.

Real life application

If you are planning to make a metal monument among those five metals; iron, aluminum, copper, zinc and magnesium, you would like to choose copper than to choose magnesium. The reason is because to avoid from the acid rain. Following to the above experiment, we can see that the magnesium is the most reactive metal whereas the copper was the least reactive metal. Thus, if you use the magnesium, it will be ruined easily. However, if you use the copper as the material you are going to use for making a monument, it will not destroyed by the acid rain easily as the magnesium (It could be ruined by the acid rain because it is the metal which reacts to the acid. But, it won’t be destroyed that fast since it is the least reactive metal). Another Real Life Application is that if you need to make a train, then you would know what not to choose for the outside because it would react a lot. This could mean that if you wanted the outside of a train to be Zinc then you might have to cover that with copper for example to avoid getting reactions or having the train get closed down

Work cited
Law, Andrew. Lecture. UNIS, Vietnam. Lecture.
Meixner, and Meixner. Reaction of metal. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Dec. 2009. [[‌~pci/‌versuche/‌english/‌v44-24-1.html]].