Featured in PASCO’s College Chemistry Instructor Guide

College Chemistry Instructor Guide


College Instructor edition with 36 experiments covering introductory and general chemistry topics.

Identify an Unknown Metal

Lab Summary

Use an absolute pressure sensor and stainless steel temperature sensor to identify an unknown metal by applying the Ideal Gas Law.


Students identify an unknown metal by applying and relating the Ideal Gas Law, the three possible oxidation numbers of metals, and the periodic table of elements.


Students gain experience conducting the following procedures:

  • Employing a data collection system to monitor temperature and pressure in order to calculate the number of moles of hydrogen produced by a chemical reaction.
  • Using an electronic balance.
  • Applying the calculated number of moles of hydrogen gas produced to determine three possible atomic weights of the starting material.
  • Using the calculated atomic weights and the periodic table to identify the unknown metal.

Sensors / Equipment Used:

PASPORT Chemistry Sensor


Allows students to measure Temperature, pH/ISE/ORP, Absolute Pressure & Voltage in one sensor. For use with PASPORT Interfaces.

Materials Used:

Graduated cylinder, 10-mL or 25-mL 
Graduated cylinder, 250-mL 
Erlenmeyer flask, 250-mL 
Beaker, 1500-mL 
Balance - 1 per class
Rubber stopper with one hole 
3 M Hydrogen chloride (HCl) - 100 mL
Unknown metal, 0.2 g (use magnesium ribbon) - 3 pieces
Electrical tape - 1 roll

The Associated Bundle:

Advanced Chemistry Standard Sensor Bundle


Contains the probeware for completing experiments in the College Chemistry lab manual.

Interface Required

This experiment may require software and an interface for data collection.