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Homework Help: What would reduce copper

  1. Jun 11, 2010 #1
    Today there was a question that asked what would reduce copper?

    As a multiple choice question, it was narrowed down to Ca and Zn as they were the only ones that would oxidise more readily than copper.

    However, as Ca was lower than Zn, I chose that one because it was the "weaker oxidizing agent." Would that be right?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 12, 2010 #2
    Technically, anything that is lower down on the Ep potential list should give its electrons to copper therefore both answers are correct.
  4. Jun 12, 2010 #3
    Yeah, I'm pretty sure that any oxidizing agent that is weaker than another makes it a stronger reducer than the other. But the one that is farther down would be the best reducer. IE hydroiodic acid would be a really good reducer.
  5. Jun 13, 2010 #4
    I guess that zinc is the only correct answer because calcium violently reacts with water and thus cannot be used for reducing copper from solutions. On the other hand calcium is definitely a better reducing agent if you smelt it with copper compound in inert atmosphere (otherwise it reacts with air).
  6. Jun 13, 2010 #5
    Thanks for the answers so far. It was in my exam and I didn't know which one to pick but I was just really curious to know which one was the answer.

    However, there doesn't seem to be a definitive answer besides that Zinc is probably better in terms of convenience.
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