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"Removing the zinc from an iron galvanized nail"


Q. I have a question involving how to remove Zinc from a galvanized Iron nail. I'm not exactly sure what solution or process I should use. What solutions do you think would dissolve the Zinc? (I have to find out how many moles of Zinc and Iron there are in one galvanized nail).

Thank you so very much for your time!

I need this answer as soon as possible!

Rachel N [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Beltsville, Maryland

A. HCl

Tj Gaydos
- Uniontown, Ohio


A. It is about 2.3 grams.

Al Ron Johnson
- Grand Rapids, Michigan, United States

Electronic scale

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December 20, 2012

A. Hi Rachel.

Tj is right that HCl (hydrochloric acid) will rapidly dissolve the zinc while not rapidly doing much to the iron. So you can dry and weigh the nail before the experiment, then put it in the HCl until the fizzing stops, rinse it well, dry it, and re-weigh it. The difference is the weight of zinc that was on the nail.

HCl is a hazardous chemical, so you should be doing this under the supervision of the science teacher, while wearing goggles [affil. link to info/product on Amazon] and Rubber Gloves [affil. link to info/product on Amazon].

Good luck. Regards,

Ted Mooney, finishing.com
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha
finishing.com - Pine Beach, New Jersey

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