Chemguide

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Edexcel International GCSE Chemistry
Edexcel Certificate in Chemistry


Links for Chapter 8: Reactivity Series

Video clips and animations

Reactivity series animations

Brilliant animations of metals reacting with salt solutions from Iowa State University. Can be used on all sorts of levels.

Reaction between copper(II) oxide and magnesium

Short video from Mike Thompson's ChemPics on YouTube.

The Thermite reaction

One of many, many versions of this reaction between iron(III) oxide and aluminium to be found on YouTube. The reaction is started with a strip of burning magnesium.

Reduction of copper(II) oxide by carbon

Includes testing the products for carbon dioxide. YouTube.

Reaction between copper(II) sulfate solution and iron

Quick demonstration of an iron nail in copper(II) sulfate solution. Very short, but would have been improved by being 15 seconds shorter! YouTube.

Reaction between copper(II) sulfate solution and iron (again!)

Much more long-winded and amateurish than the previous version, but contains more information about this commonly asked reaction. Stick with it to the end! Google Videos.

Reaction between silver nitrate solution and copper

Simple, effective demonstration of the experiment with a coil of copper wire in silver nitrate solution. YouTube.

Magnesium burning in steam

The magnesium is half-way along the tube, and there is wet sand at the bottom. The magnesium was heated until it started to burn, and then the heat was transferred to the bottom of the tube to generate maximum steam. YouTube.

The very reactive metals on cold water

OU video of the reactions of lithium, sodium, potassium, rubidium and caesium with water. This is actually designed as a part of a study of Group 1 of the Periodic Table, but is worth a look now as well. YouTube.

Reactions of Group 2 metals with water

This brief video shows the effect of dropping the metals magnesium, calcium, strontium and barium into water. Again this is designed as a part of a study of Group 2 of the Periodic Table, but it is worth including here as well. Although Group 2 isn't on the Edexcel IGCSE syllabus as such, this shows that the same trend to increasing reactivity as you go down the Group happens here as in Group 1. However, the Group 2 metals are less reactive compared with the corresponding ones in Group 1 - for example, magnesium is a lot less reactive than sodium; calcium is a lot less reactive than potassium, and so on. You will, of course, be expected to know the reactions between both magnesium and calcium and water. From Mike Thompson's ChemPics on YouTube.


Instructions for practical work

I have referred to practicalchemistry.org as a reliable source of instructions for experiments. If you find anything really good from other sources, could you let me know via the address on the about this site page of Chemguide.

Metals menu

The practicalchemistry.org site lists Reactivity Series reactions in this menu together with various other things. It would also be worth checking their Oxidation and Reduction menu. There is much duplication between the two, but it is possible that one menu might contain something useful missing from the other one.


Other useful or interesting sites

Welding rails using the Thermite reaction

Chemistry in action! This page from the welding industry explains in detail how the Thermite reaction is used to weld rails. There is also a link to a longish (almost 4 minutes) video clip showing the process in action. The description talks about a different iron oxide from the one normally used in the lab (Fe3O4 rather than Fe2O3). That is unimportant. You might like to be critical of the equation given, though.


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© Jim Clark 2009