Turn Pennies Silver and Gold (Chemistry Trick)


Greetings fellow nerds. In this video we’re going to perform the classic chemistry trick of turning pennies into silver and gold. First get 30 grams of zinc sulfate. Then add one hundred milliliters of water and turn on the heat to get it to boil. As it’s going add in a few strips of solid zinc metal. Please check the video description for where I got my chemicals. Now get a copper penny, or any piece of clean copper for that matter, and drop it in. It has to touch the zinc metal for the reaction to occur. What’s happening is the zinc is reacting with the copper and dissolving while delivering electrons into the copper. The copper now charged with electrons will reduce free zinc ions into zinc metal on its surface giving a silvery color. This takes about ten minutes so I’ll skip over that. Here you can clearly see the more silvery color of the penny. Now look at that, we’ve just turned a copper penny into a silver one. Sure it’s a trick, but it looks cool. Now for the most amazing trick, turning it into gold. Let me wash it first. Simply put the coin directly onto the hot plate heated to about three hundred degrees Celsius. As it heats up the zinc diffuses into the copper and produces a yellow brass. At first it’s going to look coppery but that’s because it’s still hot. After you cool it directly with water it will now appear gold. Don’t try to pawn this off as actual gold though, the brass layer will eventually wear off. Anyway, that’s the trick of turning copper into silver and then into gold. Thanks for watching, please subscribe rate and comment.

100 Replies to “Turn Pennies Silver and Gold (Chemistry Trick)”

  1. have a question I have a large copper kettle that is lined inside with brass I suspect this is the process m kettle is lined years of use has worn the brass down would it be possible to use this process to refurbish the brass lining safely to continue to cook in it.

  2. Couldn't you use baking powder or baking soda ? Isn't one of those zinc. Then instead of water peroxcide. Mix those two heat it up like in this video then drop in the penny.

  3. messaging random chemistry videos. I'm trying to find out if their is chemical process that can turn metal a shade of gray similar to wet concrete. I ask because i have a handgun and it has a melonite finish. it's a chemical coating (if u didn't know)very resistant to abrasion. any info u can give would be nice.

  4. id make a 5kg bar of this and go to a restaurant eat and then leave the gold bar on the check then walk away then sit back and record

  5. You could do it this way. Or you could do it the edward elric way. Jk thx for posting this your videos are really helpful. Im trying to take high school chemistry but im in 7th grade so im trying to learn the basics and stuff. Thx again 🙂 #+1sub

  6. I have a silver (fake I'm sure) mirror which I want to change so it looks like gold. any suggestions? eg is there some kind of wax that I could rub on?

  7. by the way to make the color of the silver and gold last longer is to put it in a place that has no oxygen like a ziploc bag with all of the air out of it and it should be completely closed.

  8. does it really work wth zinc sulfate or zinc chloride or does it need sodium zincate?
    i saw some other videos they said it required sodium i tried t convince my teacher but she said sodium is too reactive and we can't use it……

  9. If you could pass this off as real gold, then you could make some money. it would cost about $90.52 USD just for a modern day US penny, based off of the gold purity of a US coin in 1735.

  10. Will this trick work with American pennies? I'm not sure if the Canadian ones are 100% copper or what but the American ones are mostly zinc. So will it work?

  11. Could you make a video about the cleanup of your reactions, especially this one (if you know how to dispose of zinc sulfate solution plz comment)

  12. This was one of the first good videos I ever saw on YouTube… I was so very shocked to see that someone on YouTube was delivering good quality science education videos. Until then I'd assumed that YouTube was just pirated music videos and idiot "pranks"… Thanks so much for your work over the years!

  13. If you see this on a 1944 US penny, be careful! Those are worth tens of thousands of dollars (steel 1944 pennies). Before you sell it or if you plate it yourself, keep in mind that this kind of business is very shady. Only sell the real stuff

  14. Hey I do not know if you check comments or would even know the answer to this but… I am looking to make a Penny resin table and would like to know if this would last if covered in the resin or if the layer will still wear off

  15. Interesting …. This SC has a couple of questions, if somebody would? What was the chemical & amount to the water to start with. Then temperature F & time needed to cook coin. Thanks so very much. Apologize I couldn't understand the specifics. Need a hearing aid but I think the manufactures make them out of gold for the price they want. 🙂

  16. Here’s a good video on Coin Chemistry: https://youtu.be/f3zQXJV8gRs, by Dr. Elliot Hertzenberg of the Wilmington Coin Club of Delaware.

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