Is there a chemist in the house?

Please HELP!

I’m having quite the interesting little discussion on my Exploration Station blog about a copper “plating” experiment using pennies, vinegar, salt, and steel nails.

I would like if there really IS a chemical reaction taking place between the copper ions from the pennies, and the steel from the nails. If any of my readers are chemists, or know someone who is, could you have them take a peek at the experiment and comments from Chemistry with Pennies from my other blog The Exploration Station?

I can’t seem to verify what is REALLY going on with the nail – is the copper color actually rust (it’s NOT bright and shiny copper color after all), or are there really atoms of copper bonded to the surface of the nail?

Does anyone know for sure what’s going on here? The commenter might actually be right, however, I’m having a hard time believing it because she seems incorrect that it’s just oil and dirt on the pennies that are tarnishing them and not copper oxide (which many other sources say it is).

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