when changing a copper penny to gold, what type of mixture is it?

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sciftw | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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If somebody knew of an actual way to do this, they would be amazingly rich.  The ancient science of alchemy focused its efforts toward finding ways to turn basic metals into gold.  Unfortunately, alchemy is impossible.  No mixture is capable of turning copper into gold.  

Good news though!  It is possible to take a copper penny and change its color to a really shiny gold color.  

1. Dissolve 30 grams of zinc sulfate in 100 mL of water.  Heat the solution on a hot plate. Use a beaker. 

2. Place thin zinc strips at the bottom of the zinc sulfate solution. Continue heating. 

3. Place a penny on top of the zinc strips. 

4. Bring solution to boil for about 10 minutes. The penny should turn a silver color. 

5. Remove the penny.  Rinse in cool water. 

6. Place the penny on hot plate and heat to 300 degrees Celsius.  The heat diffuses the zinc with the copper.  It will look copper colored again. 

7. Remove from heat. Rinse and cool.  The penny is now a nice shiny gold color. 

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