Galvanic couple copper-zinc in an acid

Hydrogen evolves now on the zinc and now on the copper

Scientific name: Demonstration of working of galvanic couple zinc-copper in an acid solution

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Safety

Wear lab gloves and eye protection.

Avoid contact of acid with skin.

Always follow general safety recommendations. Please note that conducting chemistry experiments you must comply with the relevant legal procedures in your country.

Reaction formula

Zn - 2 e -→ Zn2+

2 H+ + 2 e- → H2

Step-by-step instruction

  1. Pour some hydrochloric acid (or sulfuric acid) solution into a beaker.
  2. Put a zinc granule here. Hydrogen gas begins evolve on the zinc granule surface.
  3. Touch the zinc with a isolated copper wire. Hydrogen gas stops evolve on the zinc but begins evolveon the copper wire.
  4. If break the contact of metals hydrogen continues evolve on the zinc surface.

Scientific background

Zinc reacts with acid forming zinc ions (Zn2+) and hydrogen gas.

If thouch the zinc with a copper wire, zinc and copper constitute a galvanic cell. Zinc dissolves and gives electrones to copper. Hydrogen ions attaches electrons firming molecules of hydrogen gas. If break the contact of zinc and copper, hydrogen will evolve on a zinc surface again.

Danger:
Coolness:
Difficulty:

Published on 09 September 2015

  • Fire
  • Heating with fire
  • Explosion
  • Poisoned gas
  • Organic
  • Electricity
  • Solution
  • Oxidation reduction
  • Color change
  • Precipitate
  • Gassing
  • Catalyst