Lab 6.2 Metal Reactivity
In this activity you will observe and compare chemical reactions of several metallic
elements. The reaction occurs between the metal and a solution that contains the ions of a
different metal. You will carry out the reaction of each of five metals with solutions of ionic
compounds that contain metal ions. The type of reaction involved is a single replacement
reaction following the general form shown below.
X + YNO3 → Y + XNO3
If a reaction occurs, the element was more reactive than the metal ion bonded to the nitrate (NO3)
1. Construct a data table like the one on the right to record all of
your reactions and observations.
2. Obtain 6 small samples of each of the metals to be tested.
3. Record your observations on the initial appearance of each metal.
4. Place a few drops of each solution into a different well on the spot plate.
5. Add a metal strip to each solution. Observe the results. If no reaction occurs, record NR
on your data table. If a reaction occurs, record any observed changes on your data table.
6. Remove the metals from the wells and place the used metal in the appropriate container
in the back of the room.
7. Repeat steps 3 through 6 for each of the metal samples.
8. For each metal that did not react you will need to place the metal in the appropriate
container in the back of the room. All remaining solutions may be rinsed down the sink
with plenty of water; be sure that all solids go in the trash.
1. Which metal reacted with the most solutions? __________
2. Which metal reacted with the fewest solutions?__________
3. List the five metals in order, ranging from the most reactive to the least reactive. Such a
ranking of elements in order of chemical reactivity is called an activity series.
4. Refer to your metal activity series constructed above. Based on that list, explain why the
Statue of Liberty was made of copper instead of zinc.
5. What material that you observed in this lab might have been a better choice for the Statue of
Liberty than copper? Why, in your opinion, wasn’t it chosen?