Iron Filings
(Reference:  Pat Funck, Chemistry teacher, Watkins Memorial High School, Pataskala, OH.)


~ 500 mL 1.0 M CuSO4 (50 mL per group)
~ 20 g Iron filings (~ 2 g per group)
Weighing paper
Filter paper
Funnels (1 for each group)
100 or 250 mL Beakers
Glass stirring rods
Watch glass or evaporating dish (1 for each group)
Distilled water bottles


In this lab, a solution of copper(II) sulfate will be added to iron filings.  The reactants are given below.
    What type of reaction is this?
    What will the products be?

    Fe (s)    + CuSO4 (aq) 

Notice from the balanced equation of the reaction the relationship between the number of moles of iron that react and the number of moles of copper that are produced.  What is the molar ratio between iron and copper for this reaction?


1. On a piece of weighing paper mass out about 2 grams of iron filings.  Record mass to the nearest .01
2. Measure out 50 mL CuSO4 solution in a graduated cylinder.  Pour into 100 mL beaker
3. Add iron filings carefully and stir for about 10 min., note changes
4. Mass a piece of filter paper, record mass
5. Mass a watch glass, record mass
6. When reaction is complete filter solution (gravity filtration technique)
7. Make sure to remove all copper pieces from 100 mL beaker, use wash bottle
8. Place filter paper and copper on watch glass to dry


a) Mass of iron filings     _________
b) Mass of filter paper    _________
c) Mass of watch glass    _________
d) Mass of dry copper, filter paper and watch glass _________

1. Find the mass of the copper produced

2. Calculate the moles of copper produced

3. Calculate the moles of iron reacted

4. Find the whole number ratio of moles of iron to moles of copper

5. Calculate your percent yield of copper


 · If filtered CuSO4 is very blue, use less next time--maybe 30 mL.  This filtered solution may be rinsed down the drain.
 · Solid copper and filter papers may be placed in the trash.

Ginger Chateauneuf, 2000.