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Determining the molar mass of Cu and producing golden pennies

Electrochemistry and alchemy:

Molar mass of cu and turning cu into au


  • To learn Faraday’s two laws of electrolysis
  • To relate an electric current to the passage of an amount of electric charge
  • To discuss electrolysis in molten salts and in aqueous solutions
  • To determine the molar mass of copper by electrodeposition from an aqueous solution
  • To turn copper into “gold” (please bring a penny that is pre-1982 to lab with you)


You grade will be determined according to the following:

  • Pre-lab (10%)
  • Report Form (80%)
  • TA evaluation of lab procedure (10%) which includes bringing a pre-1982 penny to lab

Before coming to lab …

  • Read and complete the pre-lab
  • Read the background information
  • Read and be familiar with the Lab Instructions
  • Find a pre-1982 penny and bring it with you to lab


Electrochemistry describes the interaction between electrical energy and chemical processes. Electricity continues to intrigue us, as it has since people first observed the sky shattered by bolts of lightning. Electrochemistry is of great practical value to contemporary living. Consider the number of batteries used for powering the many portable items of pleasure and need – everything from cassette recorders to hearing aids, from calculators to pacemakers. Pure metals are produced from natural ores, inorganic and organic compounds are synthesized, metal surfaces are plated with other metals or coated with paint to enhance their value and utility – all through electrochemistry.

Electricity is a moving stream of electrical charges. This flow, or electric current , can occur as electrons moving through a wire or as ions flowing through an aqueous solution. If the electrons lost and gained in a spontaneous reaction can flow through a wire on their pathway from the substance oxidized to the substance reduced, the energy of the reaction is released as electrical energy. Conversely, a non-spontaneous redox reaction can be driven forward by the introduction into the system of electrical energy from another source. Any device in which either process can occur is called an electrochemical cell.

There are two types of electrochemical cells. The first type generates electrical energy from a spontaneous redox reaction. These are called voltaic or galvanic cells , common household batteries are classic examples. An Italian physicist, Allesandro Volta in 1800 explained that electricity is generated by the connection of two dissimilar metals separated by any moist body (not necessarily organic). A simple voltaic cell, similar to that made by Volta, can be assembled using twelve pennies and twelve nickels (construct a column of alternating pennies and nickels with each coin separated by disk-size pieces of wet filter paper soaked in salt water).

In the second type of electrochemical cell, called an electrolytic cell, a non-spontaneous redox reaction is caused by the addition of electrical energy from a direct current source such as a generator or a storage battery. The process of generating a non-spontaneous redox reaction by means of electrical energy is called electrolysis.

Questions & Answers

Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
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Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
so some one know about replacing silicon atom with phosphorous in semiconductors device?
s. Reply
Yeah, it is a pain to say the least. You basically have to heat the substarte up to around 1000 degrees celcius then pass phosphene gas over top of it, which is explosive and toxic by the way, under very low pressure.
how to fabricate graphene ink ?
for screen printed electrodes ?
What is lattice structure?
s. Reply
of graphene you mean?
or in general
in general
Graphene has a hexagonal structure
On having this app for quite a bit time, Haven't realised there's a chat room in it.
what is biological synthesis of nanoparticles
Sanket Reply
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Damian Reply
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abeetha Reply
I start with an easy one. carbon nanotubes woven into a long filament like a string
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I'm interested in nanotube
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Ramkumar Reply
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Sravani Reply
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preparation of nanomaterial
Victor Reply
Yes, Nanotechnology has a very fast field of applications and their is always something new to do with it...
Himanshu Reply
good afternoon madam
what is system testing
what is the application of nanotechnology?
In this morden time nanotechnology used in many field . 1-Electronics-manufacturad IC ,RAM,MRAM,solar panel etc 2-Helth and Medical-Nanomedicine,Drug Dilivery for cancer treatment etc 3- Atomobile -MEMS, Coating on car etc. and may other field for details you can check at Google
anybody can imagine what will be happen after 100 years from now in nano tech world
after 100 year this will be not nanotechnology maybe this technology name will be change . maybe aftet 100 year . we work on electron lable practically about its properties and behaviour by the different instruments
name doesn't matter , whatever it will be change... I'm taking about effect on circumstances of the microscopic world
how hard could it be to apply nanotechnology against viral infections such HIV or Ebola?
silver nanoparticles could handle the job?
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I'm interested in Nanotube
this technology will not going on for the long time , so I'm thinking about femtotechnology 10^-15
can nanotechnology change the direction of the face of the world
Prasenjit Reply
At high concentrations (>0.01 M), the relation between absorptivity coefficient and absorbance is no longer linear. This is due to the electrostatic interactions between the quantum dots in close proximity. If the concentration of the solution is high, another effect that is seen is the scattering of light from the large number of quantum dots. This assumption only works at low concentrations of the analyte. Presence of stray light.
Ali Reply
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, General chemistry lab spring. OpenStax CNX. Apr 03, 2009 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col10506/1.56
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