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Dissolving Copper or Zinc


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#1 Taldier

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Posted 09 May 2005 - 11:01 AM

I need to find a chemical that will dissolve either copper or zinc, but not both. I believe that copper is more reactive, and dissolving the copper would be perferable, but either will work.

#2 UncleAl

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Posted 09 May 2005 - 05:14 PM

Table of half-potentials. Zinc will (eventually) dissolve in any acid. HCl is good. Copper will only dissolve in acid under oxidizing conditions or pushed by complexation.

Good luck with disassembling your penny.

#3 akcapr

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Posted 26 May 2005 - 06:56 PM

copper is much less reactive than zinc- u said the opposite. Copper can also dissolve very poory, but still dissolve, in hot H2SO4. Nitric acid would be the best solvent for it, i think..

#4 UncleAl

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Posted 27 May 2005 - 02:14 PM

copper is much less reactive than zinc- u said the opposite. Copper can also dissolve very poory, but still dissolve, in hot H2SO4. Nitric acid would be the best solvent for it, i think..

First, read what I said. Uncle Al can explain it to you but Uncle Al cannot understand it for you. Second, learn some basic inorganic chemistry. Look at a table of half potentials. Any acid will (eventually) dissolve zinc. Copper will only dissolve in acid given oxidizing (and complexing) conditions. Cf: alloy crevice and pitting resistance in Green Death solution.

If you want it to last forever, you fabricate it from Hastelloy C-2000.

#5 akcapr

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Posted 27 May 2005 - 03:55 PM

uncle al, i wasnt refering to u with my first sentence, i was actually refering to taldier.and i never said an acid will not dissolve zinc, if i did please quote it. And as i said and u said, copper will dissolve in oxidizing conditions. So i am not sure what i said incorrectly.

#6 akcapr

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Posted 27 May 2005 - 04:01 PM

as you can see, im not very good at chemitry. ive been doing it for a year or so. ive noticed that people are smarter here than most forums. anyways, i was gonna ask what the table of half potetials is. i looked it up and i wasnt sure what it was. ALl i saw was reaction eqautions. how is it used? wat exactly is it?

#7 infamous

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Posted 27 May 2005 - 06:00 PM

uncle al, i wasnt refering to u with my first sentence, i was actually refering to taldier.and i never said an acid will not dissolve zinc, if i did please quote it. And as i said and u said, copper will dissolve in oxidizing conditions. So i am not sure what i said incorrectly.


Give it a little time akcapr; uncle can get a little testie from time to time. You will find that he is however very intelligent and can help you with many of your projects.

#8 ChemCar

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Posted 16 February 2009 - 11:45 PM

Im pretty sure that both Zn and Cu can be dissolved in electrolytic reactions. Both going faster if its a basic electrolyte. The minimal voltage of Zn is around 1.216 V while Cu's is around .22 V. Hope this helps

#9 ChemCar

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Posted 17 February 2009 - 12:00 AM

Im pretty sure that both Zn and Cu can be dissolved in electrolytic reactions. Both going faster if its a basic electrolyte. The minimal voltage of Zn is around 1.216 V while Cu's is around .22 V. Hope this helps


Never mind on Cu dissolving with electric current with the help of a basic solution. It readily forms Cu(OH)2 which is quite insoluble. Sorry bout that. Just running a current through a copper wire in a Cu-X solution will have it dissolve into that solution. The current will depend on that solutions conductivity. I suggest CuSO4.