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Reactivity of Metals
with Oxygen
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Metals are arranged in the reactivity series based on, among others, the reactivity of metals with oxygen.
A student is provided with the following metal powder
√ magnesium
√ zinc
√ iron
√ copper
An experiment is planned and carried out to determine the reactivity of the metals and to arrange them in the
reactivity series.

Statement of the problem
To determine the reactivity of the metals provided, and to arrange them in a series based upon the reaction with
oxygen.

Hypothesis
The more reactive is the metal with
oxygen, the more vigorous the metal burns in it and the brighter is the flame.

Substances/Materials and Apparatus
o    the metal powder of magnesium, zinc, iron and copper
o    potassium manganate (VII) crystals, KMnO4
o    glass wool
o    combustion / boiling tube
o    pieces of asbestos paper
o    retort stand
o    Bunsen burners

Procedure
1. A spatula of 
potassium manganate (VII) crystals, KMnO4 crystals is placed in the boiling tube.
2. Next, some glass wool is inserted into the centre of the tube.
3. A spatula of magnesium powder is gently placed on a piece of asbestos paper and put into the boiling tube.
4. The boiling tube is then clamped horizontally using a retort stand as shown in the diagram above.
5. The magnesium powder is then heated with a Bunsen burner.
6. Following that, the
potassium manganate (VII) crystals, KMnO4 crystals are heated with another Bunsen burner.
7. The observation of how the metal reacts (burns) in
oxygen produced by the heating of potassium manganate (VII) crystals, KMnO4 crystals is tabulated.
8. The magnesium metal is repeated by replacing magnesium with zinc, followed by iron and then copper.
9. The reactions of the metals with oxygen are recorded and tabulated in the table as shown below.

Tabulation of Data


Metal Reaction of the metal (with oxygen)
magnesium
zinc
iron
copper



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