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General F001: Metals and the activity series

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  • The following questions are multiple choice; clearly circle the answer which you think is the most appropriate. These questions are for self-testing only, and are not suitable for assignments or exams.

    1. Which one of the following metals reacts most vigorously with cold water?

    A Copper
    B Iron
    C Magnesium
    D Sodium
    E Zinc

    2. Which one of the following metals could produce zinc metal, if heated with zinc oxide?

    A Aluminium
    B Copper
    C Iron
    D Lead
    E Silver

    3. Which one of the following equations correctly represents the reaction of magnesium with hot steam.

    A Mn + H2O → MnO + H2
    B Mn + 2H2O → MnO2 + 2H2
    C Mg + H2O → MgO + H2
    D Mg + 2H2O → MgO2 + 2H2
    E 2Mg + H2O → Mg2O + H2

    4. Which one of the following equations correctly represents the decomposition of iron(II) carbonate?

    A FeCO3(s) → FeO2(s) + CO(g)
    B FeCO3(s) → FeCO(s) + O2(g)
    C Fe(CO3)2(s) → FeO2(s) + 2 CO2(g)
    D Fe(CO3)2(s) → FeO4(s) + 2 CO(g)
    E FeCO3(s) → FeO(s) + CO2(g)

    5. Which one of the following equations correctly represents the reaction of silver nitrate with copper metal.

    A CuNO3(aq) + Ag(s) → Cu(s) + AgNO3(aq)
    B Cu(s) + 2 AgNO3(aq) → Cu(NO3)2(aq) + 2 Ag(s)
    C Cu(s) + AgNO3(aq) → CuNO3(aq) + Ag(s)
    D Cu(s) + Ag(NO3)2(aq) → Cu(NO3)2(aq) + Ag(s)
    E Cu(s) + 2 AgNO3(aq) → Cu(NO2)2(aq) + AgO(s)

    6. Which one of the following equations correctly represents an oxidation of lead?

    A PbO + Mg → Pb + MgO
    B PbO + H2 → Pb + H2O
    C Pb + Cl2 → PbCl2
    D PbCO3 → PbO + CO2
    E 2PbO2 → 2PbO + O2

    7. Why is calcium metal never found in minerals on Earth as the native element, but copper is found as native Cu?

    A Calcium is too reactive; it lies well above hydrogen in the reactivity series and therefore will displace hydrogen from water. Copper lies well below hydrogen, and it can remain as the element for long periods.
    B Calcium is too unreactive, so it will not form, whereas copper is higher in the reactivity series and will form.
    C Calcium is very rare, but copper is very common on the Earth.
    D Calcium is reduced by air, whereas copper is oxidised.
    E Calcium forms +1 ions, which are stable, whereas copper forms +2 ions which are unstable.

    8. Why can heated carbon be used to produce iron from iron(III) oxide (or haematite), whereas the equivalent reaction of carbon fails to produce of aluminium from aluminium(III) oxide (bauxite)?

    A Aluminium metal displaces iron
    B Aluminium metal is too low in the reactivity series, below carbon, so it will not form. Iron lies above carbon, so it can be displaced.
    C Aluminium metal is above carbon in the reactivity series, so it cannot be displaced from Al2O3; iron is below carbon and can be displaced.
    D Carbon forms carbon dioxide, which is trapped by excess iron(III) oxide to form iron(III) carbonate to drive the reaction. Aluminium oxide will not trap carbon dioxide.
    E Iron(II) oxide is unstable and will not form, whereas aluminium forms aluminium(II) oxide which is a stable compound which forms in place of the metal.

    9. You have recently bought a closed factory which produced photographic film, and you have found some vats of old silver nitrate solution. How might you recover the silver metal from the solution in a single step?

    A Add some dilute nitric acid
    B Add some dilute sodium hydroxide
    C Oxidise the silver nitrate to silver using oxygen
    D Reduce the silver nitrate to silver by adding iron metal
    E Add silver metal to seed the precipitation

    10. Which one of the following metal mixtures could be separated from one another by adding dilute hydrochloric acid? Assume that the metals simply mixed, and have not formed an alloy.

    A Sodium and potassium
    B Sodium and calcium
    C Magnesium and zinc
    D Magnesium and copper
    E Copper and silver


    1. D

    2. A

    3. C

    4. E

    5. B

    6. C

    7. A

    8. C

    9. D

    10. D