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Looking at the metal world around us, many devices start to rust in a process called oxidation. This process occurs when molecules and ions lose electrons during chemical reactions. Oxidation usually causes an orange gritty appearance to metal and can make it appear filthy. In this experiment, test what substances can improve an oxidized metal’s appearance back to its original shiny self! 

What You’ll Need: 

  • Lemon Juice 
  • Berry juice 
  • Vinegar 
  • Hot Sauce 
  • Taco Sauce 
  • Dirty Pennies 
  • Cups 
  • Paper towels 
  • Timer 

What To Do: 

In each cup, pour a few millimeters of sauce or juice and then place a coin inside. Set the timer for about five minutes and wait. When the time is up, use paper towels to wipe the pennies of their substance. What is the result? Which liquids cleaned the penny the most?  

What is Happening

Acidic liquids are useful as cleaners that can remove discoloration. This is what is at play with the pennies. Liquids like lemon juice should have cleaned the pennies the most. In future experiments, see what other liquids might clean the pennies better. In addition, try this with other coins like nickels and dimes to see if the results change!

Want to learn more?

My First Lab has been a leader in developing STEM equipment for the past 30 years. With products ranging from microscopes and bundles to prepared slides and accessories, we are sure to have any product for the junior investigator, hobbyist or educational leader. Learn how to create some hands-on experiments through our Maximum Launch, enjoy our blog or browse our award-winning products.