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What chemical reaction happens when you put copper into silver nitrate?



An ongoing discussion from 2004 through 2015 . . .

(2004)

Q. I need help with chemistry lab. When you mix silver nitrate in with a copper wire, can anyone tell me in words the chemical equation that represents the reaction that occurred.

Nate N [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
chemistry class - Ellsworth, Wisconsin


Silver Nitrate

(2004)

A. The silver nitrate is in solution and the metallic copper will dissolve to form copper nitrate; as it does so, the silver in solution will be precipitated out as metallic silver. That is, the silver in solution is exchanged for copper and the copper that is not in solution is substituted for silver. Hope this makes sense!

Alternatively:

Cu(0) + 2AgNO3 = Cu(NO3)2 + Ag(0)


Trevor Crichton
R&D practical scientist
Chesham, Bucks, UK


(2006)

A. No offense to the guy who wrote the response above, but the balanced chemical equation is a little off. It would be:

Cu + 2AgNO3 ---> Cu(NO3)2 + 2Ag

Jonathan T [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Rutherglen, Ontario, Canada

----
Ed. note: Thanks Jonathan, you are correct. Trevor forgot the '2' in front of 'Ag" on the righthand side of the equation.



Electricity and Electronics




Award Winning Science Fair Projects

(2007)

Person above is wrong because the equation has the 2 and 3 so they would be carried over instead of staying with the Ag

Eden M [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Canberra A.C.T Australia


(2007)

No offense to Eden, but I don't understand what you're saying :-)

As far as I can see, Jonathan's response is complete and correct.

Yes, Trevor Crichton's response does lack the required "2" before the Ag on the right hand side (his number 0 in parentheses has nothing to do with oxygen, but means the metal is at an oxidation state of zero, i.e., metallic form).

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey


(2007)

thumbsup2You guys are just way too smart! :-Z

Katie O [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Austin, Texas


(2007)

Hey Eden, I think you're right, I even checked with Mr. Rigg at school and he says so.

James C [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Canberra, A.C.T., Australia
 

Hi James. Please invite Mr. Rigg to the discussion because I don't understand what you and Eden are saying, and I see nothing wrong with Jonathan's equation.

Regards,

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey


(2007)

I'm pretty sure that Jonathan's is right

Dan M [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- New York, New York


October 19, 2008

Ok, the one [from Jonathan] is def right:   Cu+2AgNO3-->Cu(NO3)2+2Ag

Natasha H [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Canada


December 16, 2008

I would have to say it would be
Cu+2Ag(NO3) => 2Ag+Cu(NO3)2

Kari Ann [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- plattsmouth, Nebraska


Copper is multivalent, so can't it be two ways?

January 9, 2008

About the silver nitrate and copper reaction. we must consider it in two different directions. One would be that copper is a transition metal, so therefore it's multivalent. It can have a 1+ or 2+ charge, right?

if you consider it with the 1+ charge, the balanced chemical equation would be:

Cu(s) + AgNO3(aq) = CuNO3(aq) + Ag(s)

Fleur S [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Montreal, Quebec, Canada


January 16, 2008

I don't think so, Fleur; Jonathan was correct.

Although you are right that copper is multivalent and is capable of forming certain compounds wherein the copper is at an oxidation state of +1, that does not mean that when you treat copper with silver nitrate that it can/will combine with the nitrate and maintain the +1 state. And in fact, it doesn't. In simple salts like copper nitrate, copper sulphate, copper chloride, etc., copper is always in the +2 oxidation state.

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey


October 29, 2009

FLEUR you are very correct over all, what you say is true and your equation is completely balanced. I don't now why others put a coefficient of 2 on silver, with that you unbalance the charge between nitrate and silver because the charge of nitrate is -1 and silver +1 if you put a 2 to silver its charge converts to +2, therefore it does not cancels the charge of nitrate and that compound can't exist, and over all some in on the other side of the equation just put one silver when in the other side they put two. MATTER IS NEITHER CREATED OR DESTROYED.

Rene M [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Monterrey, Mexico


October 29, 2009

Hi, Rene.

The "2" is not a coefficient on the silver, it's a coefficient on the silver nitrate, i.e., 2 molecules of silver nitrate.

You are correct that Fleur's equation is balanced, but although balanced, it is not the way the reaction proceeds because copper nitrate is not CuNO3, it is Cu(NO3)2 because copper does not form monovalent compounds with nitrate, but divalent ones.

The alternative equation is also balanced and does not call for matter to be created or destroyed. Let's express the reaction in words in case someone is reading the chemical notation incorrectly:

On the left side we have one atom of copper metal at oxidation state zero and two molecules of silver nitrate wherein the oxidation state of silver is plus 1 and the oxidation state of nitrate is minus one in each molecule. On the left side therefore we have one atom of copper, two atoms of silver, and two nitrate radicals.

On the right side we have two atoms of silver metal at oxidation state zero and one molecule of copper nitrate wherein the oxidation state of the copper is plus two and the oxidation state of each of two nitrate radicals is -1. On the right side therefore we have one atom of copper, two atoms of silver, and two nitrate radicals.

Regards,

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey



January 17, 2008

I just did this lab in chemistry and we were told that the copper is a +2 charge so the equation would be:

Cu+2AgNO3 -> Cu(NO3)2+ 2Ag

the 2 in front of AgNO3 balances the (NO3)2 and the 2 in front of Ag balances the 2 in front of AgNO3

Ricky O [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Cherry Hill, New Jersey


 January 18, 2008

Thanks, Ricky, you are right. And when you did the experiment, did the solution also turn bluish, indicating the presence of Cu++ ions?

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Pine Beach, New Jersey


May 7, 2008

Yes, the liquid does turn a blueish tint.

Topsy K [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- 14th Republic of Russia


January 12, 2010

No offense but we just did this in class and the copper nitrate solution does not turn a bluish color

Jerry R [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada


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