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Where can I purchase common elements from the periodic table?

I am doing a high school science fair project on the reaction that non-ferrous metals have with concrete, and, therefore, I need some nonferrous metals! PI‘ve tried to narrow my list down to the most common ones, so I‘m in need of aluminum, copper, zinc, brass (I know, not technically an element, but it fits the non-ferrous part) and either gold or silver. Does anybody know where I could buy these elements? Also, are aluminum foil and pennies literally pure aluminum and copper? If they are, I could probably just get away with using those.


Aluminum foil will work. A penny before 1983 is copper. Since then they are copper plated zinc. Some general purpose, non-alkaline batteries have a zinc casing under the outer layer. Brass buttons should work.
Just about every common metallic object we have is an alloy, even Al-foil and copper pennies. However, the added metals are probably too little to greatly affect your experiment. I would stick to things you can get from the grocery, the hardware store or scavenge from broken appliances. In addition to the Al-foil, try copper wire (better than pennies, because it has to have higher purity to be used as conductive wiring), lead sheet from the hardware (we use them to line the holes drilled for screws in concrete), zinc bars (also in the hardware store - plumbing section. Used to protect iron pipes from oxidation) and brass pipe-fittings (also plumbing section of the hardware store, if you can't just dig this out of the junk heap).
Aluminum foil is aluminum, so you are OK there. Pennies were made of 95% copper and 5% zinc from 1962 to 1982, so that should work, unless you need 100% copper. Newer pennies are mostly zinc, with a thin coating of copper on them. Canadian nickels were made of nickel from about 1962 to 1982. A pre--1965 dime is 90% silver, if that is pure enough for you. You can get zinc coated nails. Wheel balancing weights are lead (not sure how pure). Gold will be more of a problem :-) Hope that helps.

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