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Turning iron nail into copper nail

This simple chemical experiment shows the so-called process of copper plating of metal products. Copper has the ability to deposit on a metal surface.

For the experiment you will need following:

  1. A quarter of a glass of vinegar;
  2. Table salt (very little);
  3. baking soda; glass jar;
  4. A piece of thick copper wire;
  5. An iron nail.

Firstly you should pour the vinegar into the jar, add the salt there, and blend it together. After that, put the copper wire into the jar for 10 minutes. During that time you should prepare your nail: clean the nail with soda and after that put it into the jar. Wait about fifteen minutes.

After a while you will notice that the nail is covered by copper, and the wire surface becomes clean and shiny. In this experiment we can observe a reaction of vinegar (acetic acid) with copper, as a result we get the formation of copper acetate (copper salt of acetic acid). After this, copper is replaced by iron in this salt, and the liberated copper settles on the surface of the nail.

Do you know that?

Copper is not susceptible to corrosion, so it does not rust. Over time, because of moisture contained in the air, copper turns green. This formation is so-called patina, a coating that protects copper against further corrosion.