The premier destination for fun science projects & experiments for kids grades K-8 since 2010!

SHINING SILVERWARE

Remove the tarnish off silverware using an electrolyte

Suitable For

Grade 3

Difficulty

2

Time Required

 <12 Hours

Supervision

Required

What’s it about?

All metals are chemically active – meaning that parts of metal atoms, called ‘electrons’, break away from the atoms and combine with materials outside the metal. A metal that is able to loose more ‘electrons’ than another metal, is said to be more chemically active; such as iron that rusts quickly when in contact with oxygen or the tarnishing of silver.

In a process called ‘electroplating’ it is also possible to reverse the process and ‘add’ electrons to a metal by taking the electrons from a more ‘active’ metal such a copper and fusing them to a metal such as zinc, which is less ‘active’. In this science experiment you will use ‘electroplating’ to remove the tarnish off silver ware by replacing the ‘lost’ electrons of the silver:

Topics covered

Electrolyte, Electroplating

What will I need?

  • STAINLESS STEEL POT
  • ALUMINIUM FOIL
  • TAP WATER
  • TARNISHED SILVERWARE
  • DISH WASHING LIQUID
  • BAKING SODA
  • PLASTIC TONGS

Procedure (Method)

Unfortunately, this section is only available in the e-book version of the project.

How does it work?

Unfortunately, this section is only available in the e-book version of the project.

In this science experiment, an ‘electrolyte’ is created by dissolving the baking soda in the water. The ‘electrolyte’ is a liquid that conducts electricity and thus the electrons could pass freely between the aluminium foil and the silver. By heating the water or ‘electrolyte’, the electrical interaction between the two metals is speeded up. A more active metal, such as the aluminium foil, always loses electrons to a less active metal such as the silverware. The aluminium foil lost a lot of electrons to the silver and hence became weak and dull.

Like the sound of it?

Why not check out the full worksheet in one of our popular e-books?

This particular science project can be found in any of the following Experiland e-books:

Experiland e-books contain detailed steps, including illustrations, to complete the science projects from start to finish.

Science project ebooks for kids

Experiland's science e-books contain a diverse range of several hundred of exciting science projects, ideas and experiments.

A project introduction and background, complete listing of required materials, step-by-step instructions on how to carry out the project, why it works, learn more section, as well as a science glossary with all the relevant terms make up each of the all-inclusive science project worksheets in our e-books!

Get your e-Book!