Copper Nail

Here's another activity that demonstrates how chemicals change when they're combined.


  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 10-20 copper pennies
  • Glass jar
  • Iron nail
  • Pinch of salt Scouring powder


  1. Have your child pour the vinegar into the jar. Add a pinch of salt.
  2. Put the copper pennies in the vinegar and let them stand for a few minutes.
  3. Clean the iron nail with scouring powder and rinse it thoroughly.
  4. Drop the nail into the vinegar with the pennies and let them sit for about 15 minutes. What happens to the nail? What happens to the pennies?
  5. After about 15 minutes, you'll notice that the iron nail is coated with copper and the pennies are bright and clean. The acid in the vinegar cleaned the pennies. It also combined with the copper to form a compound called copper acetate. The copper in the copper acetate is what covered the iron nail.


Copyright © 2001 by Patricia Kuffner. Excerpted from The Children's Busy Book with permission of its publisher, Meadowbrook Press.

To order this book visit Meadowbrook Press.


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