Investigating the effect on temperature in reactions


  • 6 Boiling tubes
  • Test tube rack
  • Thermometer
  • 10 ml measuring cylinder
  • 1M Hydrochloric acid
  • Metal powders or turnings, (magnesium, zinc, aluminium, iron, copper and lead)
  • Safety spectacles
  • Timer


  1. Measure out 10 ml of the acid using the measuring cylinder.
  2. Pour the acid into the boiling tube.
  3. Measure the temperature of the acid using the thermometer and record the measurement.
  4. Add 1 spatula of the magnesium turnings to the acid in the boiling tube.
  5.  Start the timer and time 2 minutes.
  6. Stir the reaction and measure the temperature, record the measurement.
  7. Repeat steps 1 to 6 for each of the metals you wish to test.
  8. Calculate the change in temperature caused by each reaction.
Risk Assessment

Chemical solutions must always be treated as hazardous, they may damage skin and especially eyes if they come into contact with the body. To prevent this safety spectacles must always be worn and spillages reported to the teacher immediately. During the reaction the mixture may become very hot, this could cause a scald or burn, the boiling tube must be kept in the rack during the reaction and not handled. Metal powders are hazardous, contact with the eye can cause serious damage, safety spectacles must always be worn. Also hands must be washed at the end of the investigation to remove traces of metal.

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