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.

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    16 Discussions


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    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


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    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.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    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.

    1 reply

    10 years ago on Introduction

    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?


    10 years ago on Introduction

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


    11 years ago on Introduction

    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.

    1 reply

    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?