Thermal Decomposition Of Metal Carbonates Essay

2981 words - 12 pages

The aim of this experiment is to determine the order of the reactivity series by investigating the thermal breakdown of metal carbonates.HypothesisWhen a metal is thermally decomposed the bond between the metal and its carbonate (carbon and oxygen) is removed and the carbonate is released as cerbon dioxide. The reactivity series determines how fast this reaction occurs. The reactivity series is the order metals in the periodic table. The most reactive metals are placed at the top of the reactivity series. The least reactive materials are placed at the bottom of the reactivity series. From preliminary work that I have already done I know that Potassium and sodium are the most reactive metals, and that gold and platinum are the least reactive metals. To determine the order of how reactive a metal is and where to place it in the reactivity series you have to see how the metal reacts to:? Oxygen (air)? Water? AcidWhen metals are heated they react with oxygen in the air. As the metal is heated it reacts with the oxygen to form an oxide. The most reactive metals such as potassium and sodium burn brightly as they are heated. The less reactive metals do not burn brightly, and take longer to form their oxide. With some metals there is no reaction at all. These are the metals at the bottom of the reactivity series, such as gold. Also the most reactive metals form their oxide much quicker than the less reactive metals. This type of reaction is called an oxidation reaction, because the metal gains an oxygen.The formula for the reaction with air is:Metal + Oxygen = Metal OxideMetals can also be placed in water to see how they react. Again the extremely reactive metals potassium and sodium react more vigorously compared to the less reactive metals. In preliminary work that I have done aspotassium was placed in cold water it immediately began to react vigorously with the water. The metal also set on fire as it darted around the water. Hydrogen was given off by the potassium as it reacted with the cold water. Calcium which is also a very reactive metal does not react in the same way as potassium. Calcium reacts slower as it is placed in cold water. The calcium falls to the bottom of the beaker, whereas potassium floated on the top. Bubbles rise from the metal, a signal that hydrogen is being given off. Magnesium also reacts in this way. The fairly reactive metals such as iron and zinc don't react with cold water. They do however react with steam to give off hydrogen. Lead, copper and the least reactive metals don't react to cold water or steam.The formula for how a metal reacts with water (or steam) is:Metal + Water = Metal Hydroxide (or oxide) + HydrogenThe most violent reaction a metal can have occurs when the metal is placed in dilute acid. This type of reaction is called a displacement reaction. The metal takes the place of the hydrogen in the acid, which means that hydrogen is given off. It is too dangerous to do this reaction with Potassium, sodium and...

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