In class, we performed a lab that involved heating a solution of zinc sulfate with zinc strips at the bottom of the beaker. A penny was placed on top of the zinc strips and soon after the penny became covered in a layer of zinc. What process causes the zinc layer to develop?
The explanation was that the zinc metal transferred electrons to copper which in turn reduced the zinc ions in solution, but this does not seem to make any sense as the zinc is being oxidized to just be reduced again. Why does this happen. Is a thin zinc layer more stable?
Here are the instructions for the experiment