Silver Mirror Reaction
Source file content last modified: 4/20/15 2:04:49 PM
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Description

A silver mirror typical of those found around the home is produced.

Safety

Procedure

  1. Clean the inside of a test tube provided for this experiment thoroughly. A clean test tube, free of any dirt or grease, is essential. Use a new test tube. If a used test tube is available instead, wash it with a test tube brush and some liquid dish washing detergent. Rinse thoroughly at the tap.
  2. Whether starting with a new or freshly washed tube, rinse the test tube with, in order:
    1. distilled water
    2. 1 mL of 6 M nitric acid (discard in disposal jar)
    3. distilled water
    4. 1 mL methanol
    5. distilled water.

  3. Add the following solutions in the order shown:
    1. 8 drops stabilized honey solution (5%). Wet the sides of the tube as the drops are added. Roll the tube to wet it with this solution.

    2. 4 drops 8.0% silver nitrate solution.
    3. 4 drops 12% ammonium nitrate solution.
    4. 8 drops 10% sodium hydroxide solution.

  4. Quickly stopper the test tube, place it in a zipper-locking plastic bag, and shake vigorously. The inside surface of the test tube should be wetted for a good mirror to form. The mirror begins to form within the first minute. Continue shaking the test tube for about 3 minutes.

  5. Observe the changes in appearance for 5 minutes.
  6. Follow the disposal procedure recommended by the teacher. Either wash the solution down the drain with 1 liter of water, or add the mixture to a disposal jar. Handling this material properly is important; this solution can form an explosive mixture (after standing many hours or days).
  7. Rinse the mirrored test tube gently but thoroughly with distilled water. Allow the tube to air dry.

  8. Wash hands thoroughly.

Questions

  1. Identify the visible reaction product; indicate whether this material was oxidized or reduced.
  2. Every oxidation is accompanied by a reduction and vice versa. Identify the reaction partner of the product identified in question 1.
  3. Identify alternatives to using honey in this procedure.

Handout Makeup

Name ___________________________ Class _______

Teacher __________________________

SmallScale 075 Silver Mirror Reaction

Watch the movies.

Carefully describe the reaction.

Answer the questions.

Curriculum-

Use when discussing oxidation reduction, organic chemistry, metals, or practical applications.

Safety-

Time-

Teacher Preparation: 20 minutes

Class Time: 30 minutes

Materials-

Disposal-

Lab Hints-

Background-

Answers-

Q1. Identify the visible reaction product; indicate whether this material was oxidized or reduced.
A1. Silver metal was reduced from Ag+ in the reaction.
Q2. Every oxidation is accompanied by a reduction and vice versa. Identify the reaction partner of the product identified in question 1.
A2. A sugar in the honey was oxidized.
Q3. Identify alternatives to using honey in this procedure.
A3. Many reducing agents can replace honey in this procedure. The reaction must be slow enough to permit formation of a mirror.

Reference-

Kemp, M. Journal of Chemical Education 1981,58, 655. An early version of this experiment was developed by Fen Lewis, Wadsworth, OH at the 1987 Dreyfus Woodrow Wilson summer program.

Key Words 1-

oxidation, reduction, redox, mirror, Tollen's reagent,

Elements-

Ag C


This static was created at 2:04:49 PM on Monday, April 20, 2015