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Replacement Reaction: Silver onto Copper

Summary

Metallic copper is placed in a solution of silver nitrate. Silver metal forms at the surface of the copper metal. Copper nitrate is seen turning the solution blue as the reaction progresses.

Hazards

Silver nitrate stains the skin. It is also an oxidizer.

Chemicals and Solutions

  • Copper sheet or wire
  • 0.5M or 1.0M silver nitrate

Materials

Crystallizing dish or beaker

Procedure

Form the metal into an easily recognized design (UW is a popular choice). Place the dish with the metal on the overhead. Pour silver nitrate over the metal. The formation of silver metal will blur the image as the reaction progresses.

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