LAB: Acids, Bases, and Metals
Goal: To demonstrate the effect of acids on metals
Students taking Scholars Online AP Chemistry in the fall should consult with the instructor for additional AP lab instructions to use for this experiment.
- Pennies (any year will do, but post-1982 pennies are partially zinc.
If possible, do the procedure 2 times, once with pre-1982 pennies, and
once with post-1982 pennies).
- Iron Nail
- Nails or strips of other metals (zinc, nickel, aluminum, copper)
- Pencil or similar stick
- Pour about 1/4 cup of vinegar into the jar, and add a tablespoon of
- Place 2-3 pennies in the vinegar solution.
- Tie one end of the thread to the iron nail. Tie the other end to the
middle of the pencil or dowel and place the pencil across the top of the
jar so that the nail hangs down into the jar, half in and half out of the
- Check the nail at 15 minutes, 30 minutes, 1 hour, 2 hours, 5 hours
and 24 hours. Describe the condition of the nail.
- Pour out the vinegar solution and examine the pennies; report your
- If you can, make multiple setups and suspend different types of metals (zinc, aluminum, tin)
in the vinegar/salt/copper penny solution. Be sure to use a different setup for each type of metal so that the different metal reactions do not interfer with one another.
Devise a table to show the progress of the reaction over time.
- Be sure to accurately describe your apparatus. Draw a picture or take a photograph, scan and upload it as part of your report if possible.
- If you were able to use nails or strips of different metals, how did the reactions differ in amount of metal coating? In the length of time to coat the materials? Did any of your pennies get coated instead of the nail?
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