Introduction: Making a Copper Quarter

A red hot quarter is placed in methanol. It boils the
methanol, twice. It turns into a copper quarter. Not only is it a great visual chemistry demonstration, it will make you scratch your head.


rbneville (author)2008-08-14

where u get methanol

mwumichael (author)rbneville2015-01-03

You can find it at a hardware store or any large supermarket.

GorillazMiko (author)2008-01-25

Cool, how is that quarter red anyways?

dodo91 (author)GorillazMiko2009-03-09

when something (metal) gets hot enough, it glows red.

Modarius (author)dodo912009-11-15

When you add energy to a molecule (the heat of the fire to the quarter) It moves the valence electrons to a higher energy level, and when those electrons move back to their stable energy levels they release energy in the form of photons (light) whose color is determined by their wavelength which is determined by the energy released. Can you tell I'm in a honors chem. class? :D

Dumchicken (author)Modarius2011-02-16


the fire

girrrrrrr2 (author)shanester1332009-02-19

what is the fire there for?

dodo91 (author)girrrrrrr22009-03-09

this will only work if its hot. the fire is to heat the quarter to a glowing red. P.S. this is a chemistry class. if you go to there website, youll clearly see that.

Wired_24_7 (author)2008-06-24

I'm going to guess the first boil is due to the quarter cooling off in the methanol, the second boil is due to a rapid oxidation reaction, the outer layer of the quarter is getting oxidized from whatever metal --> metal oxide... since this is exothermic it causes the methanol to boil a second time.

DrCoolSanta (author)Wired_24_72009-10-21

Oxidation...? Where does the oxygen come from? And why would it not oxidize outside methanol?

bdboatr (author)2009-10-04

Could be methanol plus some other substance (water). Methanol will boil first with the lower BP and when the water molecules reach their BP it could boil the the water briefly... May be wrong?

meeko (author)2009-08-01

we made pennies gold and quarters too in 8th grade science

wolfsingleton (author)2008-01-25

When the temperature changes so quickly on the surface of the quarter, the difference in the temps on the underside of the quarter cause a miniscule rise, allowing methanol to hit the still-hot underside of coin and you get the second quick boil. Just a guess.

dodo91 (author)wolfsingleton2009-03-09

i think it a chemical reaction, like wired_24_7 said.

burning_feather (author)2008-11-01

is it real copper? or just turned a different color because you can take the valence electrons of of lead and turn it to gold. p.s. is it solid copper?

About This Instructable




More by the Fiber Optic Effect of WaterAn Alternative use for PeepsHow to Dramatically Demonstrate a Combustion Reaction (Whoosh Bottle Experiment)
Add instructable to: