Metal Electrode Set
Publication No. 12863
What causes an electric current to flow? Use the electrodes provided in this metal electrode set to investigate various electrochemical cell configurations and their voltages.
The Metal Electrode Set inlcudes the following:
Complementary metal solutions, 1 M
Potassium chloride solution, saturated, KCl
Alligator clips with connecting wires, 2
Beakers, 400-mL, 2
Metal Electrode Set*
U-shaped drying tube
Voltmeter with range of 0–3 Volts
*Materials included in kit.
This activity requires the use of hazardous components and/or has the potential for hazardous reactions. Copper(II) sulfate solution is moderately toxic by ingestion. Wear chemical splash goggles, chemical-resistant gloves and a chemical-resistant apron. Please review current Safety Data Sheets for additional safety, handling and disposal information.
Please consult your current Flinn Scientific Catalog/Reference Manual for general guidelines and specific procedures, and review all federal, state and local regulations that may apply, before proceeding. Each of the electrodes may be rinsed in water and stored for future use. The zinc sulfate and copper(II) sulfate solutions may be disposed of down the drain according to Flinn Suggested Disposal Method #26b. Any additional solutions used should be reused or disposed of according to their proper Flinn Suggested Disposal Method.
Note: The following outlines the procedure for setting up an electrochemical cell using zinc and copper electrodes. Electrodes and their complementary solutions may be mixed and matched to design additional electrochemical cells.
Correlation to Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)†
Science & Engineering PracticesAnalyzing and interpreting data
Constructing explanations and designing solutions
Using mathematics and computational thinking
Disciplinary Core IdeasMS-PS1.A: Structure and Properties of Matter
MS-PS1.B: Chemical Reactions
MS-PS3.C: Relationship between Energy and Forces
HS-PS1.A: Structure and Properties of Matter
HS-PS3.A: Definitions of Energy
HS-PS3.B: Conservation of Energy and Energy Transfer
HS-PS3.D: Energy in Chemical Processes
Crosscutting ConceptsCause and effect
Energy and matter
Systems and system models
Structure and function
HS-PS1-1. Use the periodic table as a model to predict the relative properties of elements based on the patterns of electrons in the outermost energy level of atoms.
An electric current will flow between two electrodes in an electrochemical cell if there is a difference in electrical potential energy between the two electrodes. In other words, if the standard reduction potentials for the two electrodes are different, an electric current will flow.
This table of standard reduction potentials can be used to calculate the net cell potentials for various combinations of the electrodes included with the metal electrode set. Note: For the corresponding oxidation half-reaction, the sign of the reduction potential, E°, must be reversed.