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What does the model show?

The model shows that a variety of reducing agents can convert a metal oxide to a metal. Each reducing agent contains an element that combines with oxygen in the metal oxide, leaving the metal.

In each of the experiments you will simulate, copper oxide is reduced to copper. The chemicals used to achieve this are called reducing agents. Reducing agents combine more readily with oxygen than the copper does or they contain an element which does so thereby removing the oxygen from the copper. For this to be possible, copper must be below the reducing agent in the Electrochemical Series (or Reactivity Series).


Reducing agents

Demonstration Instructions

  1. Add the copper oxide to the test tube and turn on the hydrogen cylinder. Allow the hydrogen to flow for a few seconds. Turn on the Bunsen in the same way as the hydrogen. Click on the test tube and look at its reaction details. You should see that the copper oxide reacts with the hydrogen to form copper and water.
  2. Reload the model using the F5 key. Make a connection from the carbon monoxide cylinder to the test tube. Repeat the procedure of step 1 above, allowing carbon monoxide to flow, then lighting the Bunsen. Click on the test tube and look at its reaction details. You should see that the copper oxide reacts with the carbon monoxide to form copper and carbon dioxide.
  3. Reload the model. Repeat the procedure using ammonia. Note the products of the reaction.
  4. Reload the model. Add the copper oxide and the carbon to the test tube. Heat the mixture with the Bunsen. Click on the test tube and watch its reaction details. As the temperature of the mixture rises (to about 240 °C) a chemical reaction takes place. Note the products of the reaction.