What happens when you put metals into hydrochloric acid?
The objective of our experiment is to see what would happen to different metals if mixed with hydrochloric acid over the time span of 20 minutes. Our variables were the following metals: copper, zinc, magnesium, iron and aluminium. We also used beakers, scales and test tubes to let the chemical reaction take place in. After this experiment, we found out that magnesium was the most reactive when mixed with hydrochloric acid. On the other hand, zinc, iron and copper had almost no effects on the acid. To conclude, we found out that some metals are more reactive than others and that you don’t want to be outside if it rains hydrochloric acid!!!
What happens if you drop different metals into acid? We’ll find out in this interesting experiment. This background research will investigate the effects of acid on metals So, what are metals? And what is acid?
Corrosion – The process of corroding metal, stone or other materials.
Chemical Reaction – Change that is irreversible and happens when two chemicals mix together to form a solution.
Concentration – The PH rating of an acid
PH – the purity of an acid.
Solution – Substance
For this experiment, we will be using hydrochloric acid. What is it? Well, hydrochloric acid is an acid that is pretty corrosive (can burn through things quite quickly depending on the concentration or purity) and can react with metals and other chemicals to form the corrosion effect which is a chemical reaction (irreversible change). The acid can range from being clear/colorless or light-yellow liquid. The acid can also be found inside anyone’s stomach. Don’t worry, the acid wont churn down your stomach walls because they are filled with mucus.
Dangers of Hydrochloric acid:
Hydrochloric acid can cause damage if it makes contact with either your lungs, eyes, stomach or skin. If it does come in contact with any one of those parts then it can cause chemical burns or scarring, get to a hot tap immediately. We are using only 1% pure hydrochloric acid because if it was 100%, almost everything that comes in contact with it will dissolve.
Acid rain forms in the air when Sulphur dioxide or nitrogen oxide are released into the air and both chemicals condense in the atmosphere and precipitates as Sulfuric acid. Acid rain damages cars, skin, wildlife and metals. It also depletes minerals and nutrients in the soil needed for plant growth.
For this experiment, we are going to be dropping various types of metals into 1% pure hydrochloric acid so it is not so dangerous for the experiment. We are going to be using: Copper, Iron, Aluminum, Magnesium, Zinc and Calcium.
What are metals?
So basically, metals are objects found in various shapes and sizes often having a very smooth, silvery and shiny surface. They are natural elements and can be found in the periodic table. Metals are good conductors and play and important role in electronics. Metals are used in society for numerous transportation, Construction and more.
Copper: Copper is a transition metal its compounds have many uses in chemistry. Most electric wires have copper wiring.
What happens when you put Copper in hydrochloric acid?
When copper reacts with hydrochloric acid, nothing will happen.
Iron: Iron is a grey, silvery metal and is magnetic. Iron is easily found, mined and smelted, which is why it is so useful.
What happens when you put Iron in hydrochloric acid?
When iron is mixed with Hydrochloric acid it creates the usual reaction that metals give off (hydrogen) and iron chloride. Iron doesn’t dissolve in readily water but it definitely will rust more rapidly under the rain and other things that relate to water. You’ve probably noticed that iron will rust when it is out in the rain. Who hasn’t left their bikes by accident outside and then it rusts because of the rain?
Aluminium: Aluminum is a silvery-white metal. It’s the one of the most common metal on Earth, making up more than 8% of the Earth.
What happens when you put Aluminum in hydrochloric acid?
When Hydrochloric acid is mixed with Aluminum the metal dissolves only at room temperature and when it does the result of the two mixing comes out as aluminum chloride and a colorless hydrogen gas. When the two are combined it is already irreversible and the two end products (aluminum chloride and a colorless hydrogen gas) will not react.
Magnesium: Magnesium is the most chemically active element. Magnesium in the second position in the periodic table.
What happens when you put Magnesium in hydrochloric acid?
The magnesium reacts with the acid, producing bubbles of hydrogen gas.
Zinc: Zinc is reasonably resistant to corrosion and its vapor burns in air with a green flame, forming zinc oxide.
What happens when you put Zinc in hydrochloric acid?
When zinc in its solid state and hydrochloric acid are combined, they form hydrogen gas and a watery solution of zinc chloride.
Nickel: Nickel’s symbol in the periodic table is represented as ‘NI’. And is a silvery-white type of metal Nickel being one of the only metallic material having useful resistance to hydrochloric acid solutions.
What happens when you put Nickel in hydrochloric acid?
Nickel reacts with hydrochloric acid to produce nickel chloride and hydrogen.
Before we started this experiment, our prediction was that either Magnesium or iron would be the most reactive/corrosive metal in the experiment. Turns out that our prediction was pretty accurate by thinking that magnesium was the most corrosive but thinking that iron was also going to be at the same stage as magnesium was incorrect. Therefore, to conclude, we found out that magnesium was the most corrosive and had quickest affect out of the other metals.
Materials and Procedure
If you would like to try this experiment sometime or you liked this idea for a science experiment, then this is how we did it:
These are the materials that we used:
50ml test tube x5
1g of copper
1g of aluminium1g of iron
1g of magnesium
1g of zinc
1 scale (or two for extra efficiency)
250ml of hydrochloric acid (1 molecule)
Measure 1g of each metal and place it into a test tube. Pour hydrochloric acid into the test tubes with the metals simultaneously. As soon as the acid makes contact with the metals, time 20 minutes with the stopwatch. When the time is up, carefully taking the metals out of the test tube and dry them with tissue. Then, weigh them with a scale to see how much metal has corroded and record it down in a table. You are now finished with the first attempt. Proceed to complete the whole procedure two more times to gain reliability within your results. And now you are done!
In our results, the most reactive metal was magnesium because it corroded the most. It corroded 0.6 grams! in our 2nd try and 0.4 in the others. On the other hand all of the other metals only corroded zero grams or even 0.1 grams at times.
Overall, this experiment has been really interesting to us all. We have all learned the dangers of hydrochloric acid, what metal reacts the most and quickest, why the metal has a reaction to acid and many more. We have all worked hard on this project and were shocked by our results. The aim of the experiment was to investigate what metals reacted with hydrochloric acid and what were the side effects. We dropped the metals into the acid and straight away we saw that the magnesium had gone completely mad! The acid started bubbling almost until the beaker flooded! It was a very close call! But on the other hand, the other metals weren’t as exciting and didn’t react as much as the magnesium. Therefore, we can conclude that different types of metals can be affected in different ways when mixed with hydrochloric acid. Thank you so much for looking at our experiment and we hope you learned a thing or two about our experiment! Thanks (really)!