What is the reaction that happens when a metal fork touches aluminum foil?

Whenever I eat something that's either been cooked in aluminum foil or is in a take away container that is aluminum, if my metal fork touches the foil when I use it I get a strange feeling in my mouth, much like when you bite aluminum foil. It's so bad that I can't take it and I wont use a fork that touched foil...what is this reaction called and/or does anyone else have this problem?


Gary H. thank you! I don't know what metal my forks are made of, but the reaction I get always goes away once they've been through the dishwasher.

1 Answer

  • Gary H
    Lv 7
    10 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    It depends on what your metal fork is made of. Obviously there are many metals used to make forks. Whenever two different metals are in electrical contact, there is a galvanic cell created so there is a voltage and the potential for an electric current to flow. This galvanic "reaction" is the root cause of many corrosion problems and the operating principle of thermocouples. You can search for the "galvanic series" or the "electromotive series" which provide the voltages that different combinations of metals produce.

    As far as your fork being permanently changed by one time contact with Al foil, this is unlikely but not completely impossible. There are some combinations of metals which, under just the right conditions, will "self electroplate", i.e., one metal will dissolve into solution while the other metal that was in solution plates out. One classic example is Ag and Fe. A piece of Fe placed into nitric acid solution containing Ag will dissolve and, as it dissolves, the Ag will plate out in it's place. So you can transform a piece of steel wool into a piece of silver wool (it does not happen instantly or even overnight, the time required depends on concentrations, volume, temperature, etc).

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