Investigate the reactivity of metals

In this experiment we will determine the relative reactivity of 4 metals:

Copper, Iron, Zinc, and Magnesium

In order to determine the relative reactivity of each metal we will carry out displacement reactions by reacting each metal with a solution of another metal ion. If the metal is more reactive than the metal in a solution (present as an ion), then a displacement reaction will occur and we will observe a change in the reaction.

‘A more reactive metal will displace a less reactive metal from its ion in solution’

Apparatus and chemicals

  • Test-tube rack
  • Test-tubes x3
  • Copper(II) sulfate solution (0.5 mol/dm3)
  • Magnesium sulfate solution (0.5 mol/dm3)
  • Zinc sulfate solution (0.5 mol/dm3)
  • Iron(II) sulfate solution (0.5 mol/dm3)
  • Pieces of copper foil (3 small pieces approx. 1 cm2)
  • Zinc (3 small granules or pieces of foil approx. 1 cm2)
  • Iron (3 small ungalvanised nails)
  • Magnesium ribbon (3 small pieces 1 cm length)