Can Nickel Spatula Stir Copper Sulfate Solution?
A nickel spatula is a common lab apparatus used to stir solutions.
Copper (II) sulfate solution is a blue solution that we can easily prepare in the lab.
So can we use a nickel spatula to stir a solution of copper (II) sulfate?
To answer this we have to consider the stability of nickel spatula when mixed with CuSO4 solution.
If nickel is stable in CuSO4, a nickel spatula can be used for stirring as it will not have any unintended reaction taking place.
If nickel is not stable in CuSO4, a reaction between nickel and CuSO4 will occur.
Then a nickel spatula will not be suitable for stirring.
Stability of nickel in CuSO4 is essentially the feasibility of the redox reaction between Ni and Cu2+.
So the real question is:
Is the redox reaction between Ni and Cu2+ feasible?
To determine this we can calculate the Ecell for this redox reaction.
Let's find the appropriate half equations in the data booklet:
This redox reaction involves:
- reduction of Cu2+ to Cu E = +0.34V
- oxidation of Ni to Ni2+ E = -0.25V
We can now calculate the Ecell of this reaction:
Since Ecell is positive, the reaction between Ni and Cu2+ is feasible.
This means Ni is not stable in Cu2+ and we cannot use a nickel spatula to stir a solution of CuSO4.
Topic: Electrochemistry, Physical Chemistry, A Level Chemistry, Singapore
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