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REACTIVITY SERIES OF METALS/ELEMENTS

REACTIVITY SERIES OF METALS/ELEMENTS

Metals compete for combined Oxygen. A metal/element with higher affinity for oxygen removes Oxygen from a metal lower in the reactivity series/less affinity for Oxygen. When a metal/element gains/acquire Oxygen, the process is called Oxidation. When metal/element donate/lose Oxygen, the process is called Reduction.

 

An element/metal/compound that undergoes Oxidation is called Reducing agent. An element/metal/compound that undergoes Reduction is called Oxidizing agent. A reaction in which both Oxidation and Reduction take place is called a Redox reaction. Redox reaction between Magnesium and copper(II)Oxide

 

Procedure

Place about 2g of copper(II)oxide in a crucible with a lid. Place another 2g of Magnesium powder into the crucible. Mix thoroughly. Cover the crucible with lid. Heat strongly for five minutes. Allow the mixture to cool. Open the lid. Observe.

Observation

Colour change from black to brown. White solid power formed.

Explanation

Magnesium is higher in the reactivity series than Copper. It has therefore higher affinity for Oxygen than copper. When a mixture of copper(II)oxide and Magnesium is heated, Magnesium reduces copper(II)oxide to brown copper metal and itself oxidized to Magnesium oxide. Magnesium is the reducing agent because it undergoes oxidation process.

Copper(II)oxide is the oxidizing agent because it undergo redox reduction process. The mixture should be cooled before opening the lid to prevent hot brown copper from being reoxidized back to black copper(II)oxide.

The reaction of Magnesium and Copper(II)oxide is a reaction

 

Chemical equation

  1. Copper (II)oxide + Magnesium -> Magnesium oxide + Copper

(black) (white ash/solid) (brown)

CuO(s) + Mg(s) -> MgO(s) + Cu(s)

(Oxidizing Agent) (Reducing Agent)

  1. Zinc (II)oxide + Magnesium -> Magnesium oxide +Zinc

(yellow when hot) (white ash/solid) (grey)

ZnO(s) + Mg(s) -> MgO(s) + Zn(s)

(Oxidizing agent) (Reducing agent)

  1. Zinc (II)oxide + Carbon -> Carbon(IV) oxide gas + Zinc

(yellow when hot) (colourless gas) (grey)

ZnO(s) + C(s) -> CO2(g) + Zn(s)

(Oxidizing agent) (Reducing agent)

 

The reactivity series is used during extraction of metals from their ore.An ore is a rock containing mineral element which can be extracted for commercial purposes. Most metallic ores occur naturally as:

(i) Oxides combined with Oxygen

(ii) Sulphides combined with Sulphur

(iii) Carbonates combined with carbon and Oxygen.

 

Metallic ores that naturally occur as metallic sulphides are first roasted in air to form the corresponding oxide. Sulphur(IV)oxide gas is produced. e.g. Copper(I) sulphide + Oxygen -> Copper(I)Oxide + Sulphur(IV)oxide

Cu2S(s) + O2(g) -> 2Cu(s) + SO2(g)

Zinc(II) sulphide + Oxygen -> Zinc(II)Oxide + Sulphur(IV)oxide

ZnS(s) + O2(g) -> Zn(s) + SO2(g)

Lead(II) sulphide + Oxygen -> Lead(II)Oxide + Sulphur(IV)oxide

PbS(s) + O2(g) -> Pb(s) + SO2(g)

Iron(II) sulphide + Oxygen -> Iron(II)Oxide + Sulphur(IV)oxide

FeS(s) + O2(g) -> Fe(s) + SO2(g)

 

Metallic ores that naturally occur as metallic carbonates are first heated in air.

They decompose/split to form the corresponding oxide and produce Carbon(IV)oxide gas. e.g. Copper (II)carbonate -> Copper(II)oxide + Carbon(IV)oxide

CuCO3(s) -> CuO(s) + CO2(g)

Zinc (II)carbonate -> Zinc(II)oxide + Carbon(IV)oxide

ZnCO3(s) -> ZnO(s) + CO2(g)

Lead (II)carbonate -> Lead(II)oxide + Carbon(IV)oxide

PbCO3(s) -> PbO(s) + CO2(g)

Iron(II)carbonate -> Iron(II)oxide + Carbon(IV)oxide

FeCO3(s) -> FeO(s) + CO2(g)

Metallic ores

 

See also

REACTION OF NON-METALS WITH OXYGEN/AIR

REACTION OF METALS WITH OXYGEN/AIR

USES OF OXYGEN

OXYGEN

THE ATMOSPHERE

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