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CHS students perform penny experiment

Tests prove which coins are pure copper, which are alloyed with zinc coating
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By Calen McKinney, Public Information Officer
Campbellsville Independent Schools

Campbellsville High School chemistry students recently performed an experiment with pennies. CHS teacher Dee Doss asked students to determine whether their pennies were made of pure copper.

Students were given two pennies, one made before 1982 and the other made after 1982.


First, students created grooves in the pennies. Then, they placed the pennies in a beaker and soaked them in hydrochloric acid.

They observed any reactions happening and then let their pennies sit overnight.

In the end, based on the condition of their pennies, students learned that before 1982, pennies were made of pure copper. Afterward, pennies were made of copper with a zinc coating. - Calen McKinney


This story was posted on 2017-03-14 05:18:21
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CHS students Micah and Ryan start penny dating test



2017-03-14 - Campbellsville High School, 230 W Main, Campbellsville, KY - Photo by Calen McKinney, Public Information Officer, Campbellsville Independennt Schools (CIS) .
CHS senior Micah Corley makes a groove in his group's penny, as junior Ryan Jeffries watches. - Calen McKinney

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Penny test for dating and composition: Immersing in hydrochloric acid



2017-03-14 - Campbellsville High School, 230 W Main, Campbellsville, KY - Photo by Calen McKinney, Public Information Officer, Campbellsville Independent Schools (CIS).
CHS junior Nena Barnett, at left, pours hydrochloric acid on her group's pennies as classmate Jayden Bridgewater watches.

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Penny experiment: Logan Cole, Austin Carter and Dylan Gilbert



2017-03-14 - Campbellsville Elementary School, 315 Roberts Road, Campbellsville, KY - Photo by Calen McKinney, Public Information Officer, Campbellsville Independent Schools (CIS).
CHS junior Logan Cole, at right, pours hydrochloric acid on his group's pennies as classmates Austin Carter, at left, and Dylan Gilbert watch. - Calen McKinney

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Penny experiment: Teacher Dee Doss, with Jayden and Ethan



2017-03-14 - Campbellsville High School, 230 W Main, Campbellsville, KY - Photo by Calen McKinney, Public Information Officer, Campbellsville Independent Schools (CIS).
CHS teacher Dee Doss, at left, and her students, from left, juniors Jayden Bridgewater and Ethan Lay and their groupmates watch as the hydrochloric acid reacts with their pennies. - Calen McKinney

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Penny test: 1982 and earlier not affected by hydrochloric acid



2017-03-14 - Campbellsville High School, 230 W Main, Campbellsville, KY - Photo by Calen McKinney, Public Information Officer, Campbellsville Independent Schools (CIS).
CHS students soak pennies in hydrochloric acid to see a reaction. The penny on the left reacted with the hydrochloric acid, because of its zinc content, and is therefore is 1983 or later.

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