Investigating Which Metal Combination Gives Out the Most Voltage in a Solution

Investigating Which Metal Combination Gives Out the Most Voltage in a Solution

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Investigating Which Metal Combination Gives Out the Most Voltage in a Solution


Metals are an order of chemical elements in the periodic table. They
are arranged in atomic number. All of them are solid (apart from
mercury), good thermal and electrical conductors and are shiny when
polished. Metals and non - metals are separated in the table by a
diagonal line.

The reactivity series is a table to show which metals are most
reactive to the least reactive. Potassium is known as the most
reactive and platinum the least.

[IMAGE] Most reactive















Least reactive

Electrical flow through metals work like this: the current in the
metal is carried by electrons and will only flow if there charges
which can move freely. Metals contain a sea of electrons (which are
negatively charged) and which flow throughout the metal. This is what
allows electric current to flow so well in all metals.

An electrode is a component of an electric circuit that connects the
wiring of the circuit to a gas or electrolyte. A compound that
conducts in a solution is called an electrolyte. The electrically
positive electrode is called the anode and the negative electrode the
cathode. When a positive and a negative electrode are placed in a
solution containing ions, and an electric potential is applied to the
electrodes, the positively charged ions move towards the negative
electrode, and the negatively charged ions to the positive electrode.
As a result, an electric current flows between the electrodes. The
strength of the current depends on the electric potential between the
electrodes and the concentration of ions in the solution.

Ionization is the formation of electrically charges atoms or
molecules. Atoms are electrically neutral; the electrons that bear the
negative charge are equal in number to the protons in the nucleus

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bearing the positive charge. When sodium combines with chlorine, for
example, to form sodium chloride, each sodium atom transfers an
electron to a chlorine atom, so it forms a sodium ion with a positive
charge and a chloride ion with a negative charge.

I was given six metals to test and see which gave out the most voltage
in a solution. The metals are: copper, zinc, aluminium, magnesium,
lead, and tin. There was three different ways I could have done this.
I could have tested two different metals in different solutions and
see which solution gave out the most voltage, I could have used the
same metals and same solution and dilute it, or I could have used the
same solution and try different metals, I used the last method because
I thought it would be more logical.

My first actual plan was to test five metals: calcium, aluminium,
zinc, magnesium, and iron. I wouldn't try potassium, sodium, or
lithium because I knew they would blow up, (because of previous
experiments) and be no use. Firstly I would test aluminium and calcium
together five times, then zinc and iron five times then swap them
around and then see the results to see which combination gives out the
most power. I wasn't going to test anything lower than iron because I
don't think it will be worth it and it will take a long time to
conduct and not give out a lot of power.


The following apparatus will be used: a beaker, hydrochloric acid,
voltmeter, 2 clip wires and copper, zinc, aluminium, magnesium, lead,
and tin.



I think aluminium and magnesium would give out the most power because
they are higher than zinc and iron in the reactivity series, therefore
it would be more appropriate to use aluminium and magnesium as it
would be likely to give out more power. If magnesium explodes then I
think zinc would be the next choice.

Health and safety

This is always important when working in a science lab. You should
wash your hands after handling acids and other types of chemicals, and
wear gloves if necessary. Don't run around the lab, point out any
safety hazards to the people around you, and don't pour chemical
contents into a sink.


I started the experiment like this: I poured 25ml of hydrochloric acid
into a beaker, (I used this acid because I was told that it was the
best one to use). Then I connected the voltmeter and the two wires
together and placed one strip of copper onto both clips. I then placed
both clips (with two strips of copper on them) into the beaker and
held them apart. I recorded the volts given out and took the strips of
copper out again. I did this five times with each metal to make it a
fair test.


Metals used

Voltage outcome










































Magnesium turned out the best so I was lucky I did test this metal,
the hydrochloric acid fizzed up when I tested it. Aluminium was second
and but zinc was close behind. Lead and tin was literally useless, as
it didn't give out hardly any power at all.


Magnesium by far gave out a lot more power than the other five metal.
The highest voltage it gave out was 0.53 and aluminium gave out 0.08,
as you can see there is a big drop here. Even though aluminium is
right behind magnesium in the reactivity series, in this experiment it
looks likes it is much more behind. I think the results were accurate
because it was done five times with each metal, which made it fair.


The method in which this experiment was done was ok but I think it
would have been better if I got to choose how to do it and what metals
to use. The quality of the results I think were considerably
reasonable. But the results I got with lead was silly, it was a waste
of time trying lead as it didn't give out hardly anything but if I had
given it more time, then maybe it would have done better. To improve
the way the experiment was done: I could have tried different acids to
test the metals, use a wider range of metals to test, use a better and
more reliable voltmeter, and give the metals more time to react with
the solution. But this experiment was a short and simple experiment to
find out which metals gave out the most voltage.
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