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Why Do Pennies Corrode?

If you look at a penny, it appears to be copper, but unless it ‘s a identical honest-to-god one, it ‘s actually a combination of metals that may include copper, zinc, can, nickel or steel. Whether or not your penny contains other metals, though, the surface is about constantly copper, and exposure to the atmosphere turns that metallic element turns dull. One reason that pennies contain zinc is because that metallic element has a high underground to atmospheric corrosion.

Historic Composition of Pennies

The United States Mint began producing pennies in 1793, and until 1837, the coin was 100 percentage copper. From 1837 to 1857, the penny was bronze — it contained 95 percentage copper and 5 percentage zinc and can. In 1857, the Mint began producing pennies with 12 percentage nickel and 88 percentage copper that had a milky appearance. output of tan pennies resumed in 1864, and the composition remained unchanged until 1962, when the can was removed, leaving 95 percentage bull and 5 percentage zinc. In 1982, the Mint stopped producing copper pennies and began producing copper-plated zinc pennies with a a composing of 97.5 percentage zinc and 2.5 percentage bull. Most pennies produced in 1943 were steel in an campaign to conserve copper for the war effort.

Corrosion of Copper in the Atmosphere

The copper in a penny, whether it forms the bulge of the mint or merely a surface layer, turns dull when exposed to the air. The reason is that copper atoms combine with oxygen molecules to form copper oxide, in a chemical summons called oxidation. In the bare reaction, each of the oxygen atoms in an oxygen atom combines with a copper atom, and the result is two molecules of copper oxide. When oxidation occurs with iron, the solution is called rust. A penny with a high copper content wo n’t disintegrate in vent, because once a open level of copper oxide forms it prevents further corrosion.

Galvanic Cell Reaction

Zinc is a passage metal that resists rust, and it is much used to coat early metals to prevent them corroding — a march called galvanize. Alloys of copper and zinc are called brass, and they have been used since ancient times. When copper and zinc are separated by a discrete layer, however, as they are in newer pennies, a electric cell reaction can occur in salt water that hastens corrosion. This chemical reaction is the lapp one that corrodes copper pipes joined to galvanized steel ones without a insulator yoke. It ‘s caused by electricity, which is more well conducted in salt water than in air.

Cleaning Pennies

It is n’t difficult to clean muffle pennies. All you have to do is immerse them in a solution if body of water, vinegar and salt. The acetic acerb in vinegar that dissolves copper oxide, and adding salt speeds up the process. Corroded pennies normally turn bright again in less than a infinitesimal. You can get like results using lemon juice, which contains citric acid. If you remove a penny from this solution and leave it on a table without drying it off, it will form a green coating. This is malachite, a salt of copper.

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Category : Economy

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