Turning Copper Pennies Into Silver and Gold Pennies
When a copper penny is zinc plated it will appear to change from its copper color to silver color. And by using sufficient heat, a zinc plated copper penny can be changed to a gold color.
This version of Silver and Gold Pennies utilizes zinc sulfate as less caustic than sodium hydroxide and works as well.
- Two small beakers, 50ml and 250ml
- Hot plate.
- Zinc Sulfate, 100g
- Zinc Metal, Mossy, 100g
- Glass Stir Rod
- Tap Water
- Copper pennies, well cleaned.
To turn the penny silver...
- Fill the small 50 mL beaker with 3/4 full tap water. This is your rinsing beaker. Set aside.
- Dissolve 30 grams of Zinc Sulfate in 100 mL of water in the 250 mL beaker. A little heat from setting on the hot plate will hasten this dissolve.
- Place mossy zinc pieces in the beaker with the zinc sulfate solution, enough pieces to almost cover beaker bottom.
- Using tweezers, place two or three cleaned up pennies in step three beaker making sure pennies touch the mossy zinc pieces and are not touching each other.
- Bring solution to low boil for about 10 minutes. Your pennies will slowly turn a silver color.
- Using tweezers, carefully remove the pennies from the solution, rinse and cool them in small wash beaker then dry them on a paper towel.
- Voila! You now have a dandy silver colored penny.
To turn the penny gold...
- Place the silver penny on a hot plate heated to about 570°F (300°C). Watch as the heat diffuses the zinc with the copper to form a brass alloy. This will appear as golden in color.
- Once the penny is a brassy/golden color, use tweezers to pick up the penny and transfer it into the wash beaker to rinse and cool.
- Once cooled, you have a nice gold colored penny!