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Oxidation Reduction Activity Series Essay


1. Place 10 drops of Sodium sulfate, Na2SO4 into well A1 of the 24-well plate. 2. Place 10 drops of Magnesium sulfate, Mg SO4 into well A2 of the 24-well plate. 3. Place 10 drops of Zinc nitrate, Zn(NO3)2 into well A3 of the 24-well plate. 4. Place 10 drops of Iron (III) chloride, FeCl3 into well A4 of the 24-well plate. 5. Place 10 drops of Copper (II) sulfate, Cu SO4 into well A5 of the 24-well plate. 6. Take the metal solids from your LabPaq; there should be one piece each of magnesium, zinc, and iron plus two pieces of lead. Note: Magnesium and lead oxidize very easily and an almost invisible oxidation layer may coat the metal. To insure good reactions you should scrape the surface of those metals with a pocket knife or remove the oxidation layer by rubbing the metal pieces with steel wool or something similar.

Evidence that a reaction is taking place is the formation of bubbles or a coating on the metal immersed into the solution. The formation of bubbles will take place very quickly, but it may take a few minutes to see any coating on the metal. 7. Use your tweezers to pick up and carefully insert the piece of magnesium into the sodium sulfate. Record your observations. 8. Carefully insert a piece of zinc into the magnesium sulfate. Record your observations. 9. Carefully insert a piece of lead into the zinc nitrate. Record your observations. 10. Carefully insert the lead into the iron (III) chloride. Record your observations.

11. In the same way carefully insert the iron into the copper (II) sulfate. Record your observations. 12. Based on the above tests alone, you may not be able to determine if iron is more reactive than zinc, or if zinc is more reactive than iron. However, there are enough metal pieces and solutions available to make that determination. 13. Place a paper towel over the drain of your sink and pour the contents of the well plate through it. Throw the paper towel and metal pieces in the trash. Rinse the well plate and your drain with lots of running water and return the well plate to your LabPaq.

Data, observations, calculations:
Data Table: Oxidation-Reduction Data Table 1: Experiment Data

Percent of Mixture
Iron Filing
Table Salt
Benzoic Acid

Mg in Na2SO4 →
sodium is stronger than magnesium, turned iron duller, little amount of bubbles Zn in MgSO4 →
Little to no reaction
Pb in Zn(NO3)2 →
Less of an reaction than the Fecl3, but kind of changed color Pb in FeCl3 →
Changed its color made it slimy green
Fe in CuSO4 →
Completely stripped nail, turned the tip orange


A. Based on your observations make an activity series of the metals used. List them in such a way that the most active metal is on the left and the least active metal is on the right. Remember, sodium and copper are metals, too.

Iron, Zinc, Lead, Magnesium

B. Suppose you inserted a piece of copper into a solution of nickel chloride and observed no reaction. Then if you inserted a piece of iron into the solution of nickel chloride a nickel deposit formed on the bottom of the well in the well plate. Where does nickel fit into your activity series?

Iron, Nickel, Zinc, Lead, Magnesium

C. Suppose you inserted a piece of an unknown metal into a solution of zinc (II) nitrate and observed no reaction. Then if you inserted the unknown piece of the metal into the solution of iron (III) chloride a deposit formed on the bottom of the well in the well plate. Where does the unknown metal fit into your activity series?

The unknown metal would fit in between Zinc and Lead

For the reaction (Fe (s) + NiCl (aq) à2 Ni (s) + Fe Cl (aq) identify:

1. The oxidation number of Ni (s) = 0
2. The oxidation number of Fe in the FeCl 2(aq) =+2
3. The oxidation number of Cl in the FeCl2(aq) = -1
4. The oxidation number of Fe (s) =0
5. The oxidation number of Ni in the NiCl2 (aq) =+2
6. The oxidation number of Cl in the NiCl2(aq) =-1
7. The element that is oxidized and the element that is reduced Iron(Fe) was oxidized and the Ni was reduced.
8. The oxidizing agent and the reducing agent
Iron was the reducing agent and the Ni was the oxidizing agent.


I was surprised at the reaction that Iron had because although I did expect some reaction I didn’t expect that much of a reaction. I was also surprise at how subtle Pb and Zinc and Pb in Iron could be, I feel that this lab was beneficial in honing our observational skills as some of the reactions where harder to see at first, such as Zinc in Magnesium.

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