Copper Plating and Ornaments
John R. Krikau
- galvanized sheet metal from machine shop cut into 5x 5 cm squares with hole drilled through at one of the corners
- masking tape
- utility knife
- steel wool
- copper(II) nitrate solution(about 0.1M) and 20 mL per student
After cutting out design, dip in dilute HCl until bubbling stops then rinse with water and dry with paper toweling; write chem equation for this reaction; rub exposed area with eraser; do not remove tape; dip or swab exposed area with copper(II) nitrate solution; write chem equation for this reaction; rinse with water and dry; and remove tape.
- Polish both sides of metal with steel wool.
- Cover both sides with masking tape.
- Draw diagram on masking tape (something in holiday spirit like snowflake) and may draw on both sides
- Cut out the design to metal surface with utility knife.
- Dip the metal into copper(II) nitrate solution or dab with cotton soaked in solution using tongs and rub onto bare metal. Do NOT touch with fingers.
- Rinse ornament in water and allow to dry.
- Remove excess tape.
- Write the chemical equation for this reaction and then hang your ornament on Christmas tree each year as reminder of your chemistry experience.
This is an oldie but a goodie as a lab on last day of class prior to Christmas break without doing any cooking or candy making in lab. You have students make a holiday ornament by plating some copper out on another metal.