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Protocol adapted from 'Chemistry in the Laboratory'

Electrogels - metal corrosion, anodic protection and the golden penny


The goal of this experiment is:

  • Observe the deposition of zinc metal on a penny in contact with metallic zinc and to develop a hypothesis to explain how this happens.
  • Observe how iron may be corroded or protected from corrosion depending on whether it is connected to copper or to zinc.
  • Observe the plating of a penny with zinc and subsequent color changes.


You will be assessed on:

  • completion of the report form.
  • TA evaluation of lab procedure.


Electrochemistry is everywhere

 In general, whenever two condensed phases (solid or liquid) are brought into contact, a potential (or voltage) difference develops across the interface. Because the interface region is very thin, even transfer of a small amount of charge across the interface can create a very large electric field. For example, transferring about one picomole ( 10 12 size 12{"10" rSup { size 8{ - "12"} } } {} mole) of electron charge per square centimeter of area will typically create a potential difference of approximately 1 volt across an interface layer about one nanometer thick. The electric field in this interface region would be about 109 volts/meter. Electric fields this large can cause the transfer of electrons across an interface layer or the transfer of ions between the inside and outside of ells in living organisms. Because contacts between condensed phases are very common in nature, electrochemical phenomena are very common, even though we are often unaware of them. At the cellular level, electrochemical phenomena are crucial to the propagation of nerve impulses, the timing of muscular contractions of the heart, and activity in your brain cells.

 Most of the electrical technology created by humans involves the simplest kind of chemical change; electron transfer across an interface. Often, the interface is between a good electron conductor, called an electrode, and a solution containing molecules or ions. The electrode might be a solid (like platinum or copper metal or graphite), or it could be liquid (like mercury metal). When electrons are transferred from the electrode to a molecule, we say the molecule has been reduced. Electron transfer in the opposite sense (from molecule to electrode) is called oxidation.

There are two parts to this lab the first, ANODIC PROTECTION, you will perform in pairs. By coating steel (which is mostly iron metal) with a more active metal like zinc, a process called galvanizing, the steel's corrosion can be retarded or entirely prevented. Often, simply making a good electrical connection between a piece of iron and a piece of zinc is sufficient to keep the iron from corroding. We will study the acceleration and the prevention of iron corrosion by connecting it to various metals.

In the second part of this lab, we will be revisiting THE GOLDEN PENNY EXPERIMENT, which will be set up for you by your TA, so that you can make observations. As you remember, the golden penny experiment involves the plating of a penny with zinc metal. First, the penny is immersed in a solution containing 1 M NaOH and granular zinc. Subsequent heating of the penny for a few seconds on a hot plate causes the silver color of the penny to turn a bright golden yellow. Explaining the details of the process presents a challenge.

Questions & Answers

what is the stm
Brian Reply
is there industrial application of fullrenes. What is the method to prepare fullrene on large scale.?
industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
How we are making nano material?
what is a peer
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
What is STMs full form?
scanning tunneling microscope
how nano science is used for hydrophobicity
Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
what is differents between GO and RGO?
what is simplest way to understand the applications of nano robots used to detect the cancer affected cell of human body.? How this robot is carried to required site of body cell.? what will be the carrier material and how can be detected that correct delivery of drug is done Rafiq
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
sciencedirect big data base
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
characteristics of micro business
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
How can I make nanorobot?
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
there is no specific books for beginners but there is book called principle of nanotechnology
how can I make nanorobot?
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, General chemistry lab spring. OpenStax CNX. Apr 03, 2009 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col10506/1.56
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