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Name: Kelsey
Status: student
Age: 11
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: Around 1999 

I am doing a science project. I added water to copper sulfate and then put a piece of aluminium foil into it. The solution put hole in the foil. I would like to find out why? Any additional info would help.

Thank You

Hi Kelsey...

First a little bit of theory...The metals (as Aluminum and Copper) react differently, beeing some "more active" than others.

That chemical activity reflects the greater or lesser facility to give up their electrons. If one metal is brought into contact with the ions of another metal, one of two things can happen. Either the metal can transfer electrons to the ions (and a reaction occurs) or the ions do not accept the electrons (no reaction occurs).

The metals can be arranged in an activity series with the most reactive at the top and the least reactive at the bottom.

Now for your question: at that activity series Aluminum is above Copper. That is, in your solution of Copper Sulphate you have Copper ions (and Sulphate ions). When you add Aluminum foil to the solution, the metal Aluminum will transfer electrons to the Copper ions, and Aluminum ions will be formed instead.

2 Al + 3Cu (+2) = 2 Al(+3) + 3Cu

That is why you see a hole in the foil indicating that the Al (+3) ions went into solution. At the same time metalic Copper will be formed and gradually will make a deposit.

That is it! Thanks for asking NEWTON!

(Dr. Mabel Rodrigues)

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