Chemistry Experiment with Copper

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The Process of Cleaning

Before beginning this project have a discussion with students about the materials they use to clean at home, such as the soap they use to clean their own bodies. When they are washing, the soap mixes with water and friction to create bubbles and the chemical reaction that actually cleans them. You may also want to discuss the detergent that is used for cleaning clothes. By itself the detergent has no bubbles. Once added to water it begins to bubble and the clkeanign reaction occurs.

Finally, discuss what happens once the cleaning materials are rinsed off. What happens if the soap is not washed off? Students will itch because there is still a chemical reaction occurring because the chemical is still there. This is vital information for them to know before continuing on with the experiment.

The Chemistry Experiment

To do this experiment you will need the following materials.

  • 2 cups of vinegar
  • glass jar, such as a pickle or jelly jar
  • 6 dirty pennies
  • 1 teaspoon of salt

Follow the instructions below to complete the science experiment.

  1. Pour the vinegar into the glass jar.
  2. Pour the salt into the jar and stir until the salt is completely dissolved.
  3. Put all of the pennies into the jar.
  4. What about 5 minutes and remove 3 of the pennies.
  5. Place the removed pennies on a towel to dry.
  6. Remove the other three and rinse them off with water.
  7. Allow the pennies to dry, then look at the differences in the two sets of pennies.

The pennies that were rinsed off have the chemicals removed. This will stop the cleaning process and the pennies will be shiny again. The pennies that were not rinsed off are still covered in the cleaning solution. The cleaning solution mixes with the oxygen in the air causing a new chemical reaction. This chemical reaction turns the pennies a bluish-green color.

Not only is this a great chemistry experiment, but students can also use is to relate to their own hygiene using visual proof that it really is worth it to take the time and thoroughly rinse their hands, bodies and hair after washing them!

Sample contents.

This post is part of the series: Chemistry with Copper

This series involves experiments that use copper to show different chemical reactions with the metal. Use these fun and inexpensive experiments to teach your students that learning can be fun.

  1. Natural Cleaning
  2. Middle School Chemistry Fun: Electroplating