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Displacement

In this worksheet, students will explore displacement reactions which, though they sound complicated, can be easily explained using the reactivity series.

'Displacement' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 3

Curriculum topic:  Chemistry: Chemical Reactions

Curriculum subtopic:  Types of Chemical Reactions

Difficulty level:  

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

Before we look at displacment reactions it is important to review the reactivity series. The reactivity series lists metals in order or reactivity from the most reactive to the least reactive. 

 

 

When looking at displacement reactions, it is important to refer to the reactivity series, because a displacement reaction is one in which a metal displaces a less reactive metal from a compound. This is better illustrated in an equation:

 

Magnesium + Copper sulfate Magnesium sulfate + Copper

 

The copper is displaced from the compound by the magnesium, because the magnesium is more reactive. In the lab this reaction would result in a colour change. Copper sulfate is blue in colour and the copper metal formed is brown in colour, so the solution would turn from blue to colourless (magnesium sulfate solution) and the silvery metal magnesium would gain a coating of brown metal (copper).  Colour changes, like these, indicate that a reaction is going on.

 

 Copper sulfate crystal  Copper metal
 copper sulfate  copper metal

 
 

The reactivity series (see above) can be used to predict displacement reactions. For example:

 

Zinc will react with iron nitrate because zinc is more reactive than iron, but zinc will not react with magnesium nitrate because zinc is less reactive than magnesium.

 

 ZInc + Iron nitrate Zinc nitrate  + Iron

 

Zinc + Magnesium nitrate NO REACTION

 

Displacement reactions occur in solution when the more reactive metal displaces ("TAKES THE PLACE OF") the less reactive metal and so forms a soluble salt.  In the example above, the zinc displaces the iron from solution.  That means that it takes its place as the 'partner' of the nitrate ion and becomes the salt zinc nitrate.  Meanwhile, the iron is all on its own ("ahhhh") and so is deposited as the metal iron on the bottom of the beaker.

 

Probably best to read this all through again, thinking about what's happening in terms of reactivity, and then try out the questions and see how it goes, OK?

 

Put these metals in order by comparing their reactivity to magnesium (i.e. are they more reactive than magnesium or less reactive?).

Column A

Column B

sodium
less reactive
copper
less reactive
aluminium
more reactive
potassium
less reactive
zinc
more reactive

Put these metals in order by comparing their reactivity to copper (i.e. are they more or less reactive than copper?).

Column A

Column B

gold
more reactive
mercury
less reactive
iron
less reactive
tin
more reactive
lead
more reactive

Type the name of the metal that the solution shown in the picture below is most likely to contain?

 

Blue solution

Complete the sentence by typing the missing word into the text box below:

 

A displacement reaction is when a metal displaces a ________ reactive metal from a solution.

In which of the following would no reaction occur?

 

Zinc + Copper Sulfate

Magnesium + Zinc Nitrate

Copper + Magnesium Sulfate

In which of the following would a reaction occur?

 

Magnesium + Magnesium Chloride

Magnesium + Zinc Chloride

Zinc + Magnesium Chloride

Complete the following equation by typing the name of the missing chemical into the text box below:

 

Magnesium + Copper nitrate ______________  ___________ + Copper

Complete the following equation by typing the name of the missing chemical into the text box below.

 

Copper + ___________   __________ Copper chloride + Silver

  • Question 1

Put these metals in order by comparing their reactivity to magnesium (i.e. are they more reactive than magnesium or less reactive?).

CORRECT ANSWER

Column A

Column B

sodium
more reactive
copper
less reactive
aluminium
less reactive
potassium
more reactive
zinc
less reactive
EDDIE SAYS
It is important to gain a good understanding of whereabouts elements are in the reactivity series before attempting displacement reactions.
  • Question 2

Put these metals in order by comparing their reactivity to copper (i.e. are they more or less reactive than copper?).

CORRECT ANSWER

Column A

Column B

gold
less reactive
mercury
less reactive
iron
more reactive
tin
more reactive
lead
more reactive
EDDIE SAYS
As you look at this, you can see that copper is a pretty unreactive element - even lead is a little more reactive than it! That's why it gets used for pots and pans, coins and as a roofing material.
  • Question 3

Type the name of the metal that the solution shown in the picture below is most likely to contain?

 

Blue solution

CORRECT ANSWER
copper
EDDIE SAYS
Compounds that contain copper usually have a blue colour that is caused by the copper ions. It's a useful clue to file away.
  • Question 4

Complete the sentence by typing the missing word into the text box below:

 

A displacement reaction is when a metal displaces a ________ reactive metal from a solution.

CORRECT ANSWER
less
EDDIE SAYS
This is a tricky one! Remember that a displacement reaction involves a reactive metal displacing a less reactive metal from its salt in a solution.
The most reactive metal always ends up as a salt dissolved in the solution and so a colour change often results..
  • Question 5

In which of the following would no reaction occur?

 

CORRECT ANSWER
Copper + Magnesium Sulfate
EDDIE SAYS
No reaction would occur between copper and magnesium sulfate because magnesium is more reactive than copper - remember the more reactive metal is always produced as a compound.
  • Question 6

In which of the following would a reaction occur?

 

CORRECT ANSWER
Magnesium + Zinc Chloride
EDDIE SAYS
Magnesium and zinc chloride would react because magnesium is more reactive than zinc so magnesium chloride would be produced. The equation would look like this: Magnesium + zinc chloride → magnesium chloride + zinc Do you see how the two metals have "swapped partners"? That's because Mg is more reactive than Zn.
  • Question 7

Complete the following equation by typing the name of the missing chemical into the text box below:

 

Magnesium + Copper nitrate ______________  ___________ + Copper

CORRECT ANSWER
magnesium nitrate
EDDIE SAYS
The magnesium displaces the copper metal to produce magnesium nitrate and copper.
  • Question 8

Complete the following equation by typing the name of the missing chemical into the text box below.

 

Copper + ___________   __________ Copper chloride + Silver

CORRECT ANSWER
silver chloride
EDDIE SAYS
The copper displaces the silver metal from silver chloride to produce copper chloride and silver.
---- OR ----

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