A student created a galvanic electrochemical cell using zinc and copper half cells. In one beaker, he placed a metal strip of Zn into a solution of Zn(NO3)2, and in the other beaker he placed a strip of Cu into a solution of Cu(NO3)2. He connected the two plates of metal with a wire connected to a voltmeter in parallel and added a salt bridge containing KNO3.
Figure 1. Electrochemical cell.
After his experiment, the student had some remaining copper and zinc so he decided to characterize the two metals in as many ways as he could. Copper would react to form CuNO3 as well as Cu(NO3)2, while zinc would only make Zn(NO3)2. Next, he attempted to place the metals in a magnetic field, but he was unable to determine para-magnetism this way; however, the student knew that para-magnetic elements are those that have unpaired electrons. Lastly, when the metal was placed under a Bunsen burner, it produced a stunning blue color, while zinc burned orange as any other substance would.
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