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Acid and Metal Reactions

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Q. When an acid is added to a metal, what kind of reaction is produced?

Beth Rdeleted
- Cordele, Georgia


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A. Some acids react with some metals and not all acids react with all metals. It all depends on what is reacting with what. However, assuming there is a reaction, the acid will dissolve the metal to produce the metal salt of that acid; at the same time it will produce hydrogen gas. i.e., 2H+ + M = 2M+ + H2

However, there are some exceptions; if you mix conc. nitric acid with copper, you will get clouds of brown nitrogen dioxide gas.

Trevor Crichton
R&D practical scientist
Chesham, Bucks, UK

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Thanks, Trevor.

I think there is a reason for that special reaction between nitric acid and copper, and it's that nitric acid is not just an acid, it's also a very powerful oxidizing agent. Although we call it nitric acid, and it's valid to do so, it probably could have called "nitric oxidizing agent" instead of nitric acid :-)

Regards,

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Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Brick, New Jersey


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A. It would be a chemical reaction.

Mellisa Lynhart
- Karratha, WA, Australia


September 29, 2009

A. When acids and metals react, a salt and hydrogen is produced

Martin Hawes
- Manchester, U.K


October 16, 2009

Q. What do you get when you react a metal oxide with oxygen

bradley ddeleted
school - Belgium


October 16, 2009

A. Hi, Bradley. I'd say that most of the time nothing would happen because the metal has already reacted with oxygen to form a metal oxide and the reaction is done. Sort of like what happens when you burn ashes: nothing, the reaction is done.

But there could be some metal oxides like Cu2O that might be further oxidized to CuO.

Regards,

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Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Brick, New Jersey

July 8, 2011

"Hi, Bradley. I'd say that most of the time nothing would happen because the metal has already reacted with oxygen to form a metal oxide and the reaction is done. Sort of like what happens when you burn ashes: nothing, the reaction is done."

A. With all due respect, this is untrue. The reaction will proceed, but no gas will be evolved. Instead of a salt and hydrogen being produced, you will get salt and water.

The hydrogen from the acid will react with the oxygen from the oxide to form the water.

Ceri Edeleted
- Swansea, Wales, UK

June 2011

Hi, Ceri. Thanks. But ...

Although the title of the thread talks about acid reactions, and you are probably right that when an acid reacts with a metal oxide you will get a salt and water, Bradley asked about reacting a metal oxide with oxygen. And that's the question I answered.

Regards,

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Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Brick, New Jersey



Pop Bottle Science


December 2, 2009

Q. We used an aluminium foil and hydrochloric acid reaction to produce hydrogen gas and blow up a balloon, which we then exploded; it caused a nice BIG fireball.

I was wondering if you could possibly explain the reaction the took place between the aluminium foil and hydrochloric acid?

Kala Cdeleted
student - Australia


December 2009

A. Hi, Kala.

Aluminum plus hydrochloric acid reacts to produce aluminum chloride and hydrogen gas. The general idea, in formula, would be along the lines of:

Al + HCl => AlCl3 + H2^

But there is a problem with this "formula", in that it doesn't balance because there is not the same number of atoms of the three elements on each side of the equation. You need to have three HCl's on the left to provide the 3 Cl's in the AlCl3 on the right:

Al + 3HCl => AlCl3 + 1.5H2^

But there is still a problem because there is no such thing as one and a half molecules of hydrogen gas. So the actual formula is:

2Al + 6HCl => 2AlCl3 + 3H2^

Regards,

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Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Brick, New Jersey


April 14, 2010

Q. Respected Sir ,

I would like to get an answer my question. I am a student of class 10. How do you come to know that hydrogen gas is produced .Show an experiment to prove that hydrogen gas is evolved. I need a solution to this urgently.
I hope you would not neglect such a question.

Thanking You

Yours Sincerely
Rekha

Rekha Ndeleted
student - India


April , 2010

A. Hi, Rekha. Your question is not so much a question in the sense of "you know the answer or you don't", as an assignment for the student to think about. It seems to me that if we claim that hydrogen gas is produced, we should:

First, see if any gas was produced. What did your experiment reveal? Did it or did it not generate gas?

Second, capture that gas in a bottle. This could be done by sinking the bottle into the water and removing any air, then positioning the bottle to capture the rising gasses.

Third, test if the gas that was captured is hydrogen. This you would do by comparing some of the properties of the captured gas to the properties of hydrogen. Good luck.

Regards,

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Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Brick, New Jersey


March 22, 2011

A. The test for hydrogen gas is to put a lit splint into the bottle filled with gas captured from the experiment. If you see a small pop around the lit area of the splint, or hear a 'squeaky pop' sound, then the gas is probably hydrogen.

Poppy Sdeleted
- Wiltshire, United Kingdom

May 9, 2011

Q. With due respect;

I'd like to get an experiment using hydrochloric acid across G.I pipe. How long this pipe will stand alone without any damage. If there is a damage what kind of reaction/theory has been occurs and how to prevent it?

Romel B.deleted
Student - Manila, Philippines

May 2011

A. Hi, Romel.

G.I. means galvanized iron (more likely to actually be galvanized steel). Galvanized means coated with zinc.

The zinc will almost instantly dissolve in hydrochloric acid.

Regards,

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Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Brick, New Jersey


September 4, 2011

"The reaction will proceed, but no gas will be evolved. Instead of a salt and hydrogen being produced, you will get salt and water.

The hydrogen from the acid will react with the oxygen from the oxide to form the water.
Ceri E
- Swansea, Wales, UK"


Q. Interesting. Exactly what happened in my car. Some Battery acid spilled inside my car during transport. A week later noticed the salt on exposed metal and water had collected between the base metal of the car floor and the sealed carpet. I dabbed the water dry but wonder what else might be going on. Will the salt and water produced go on to corrode the metal over time? or is the reaction complete and finished. The salt I'm looking at seems to be permanent (cannot be wiped off).Is there a base I should use to stop further damage? Thank you.

Joan Nelson
- Calgary, Alberta, Canada

September 6, 2011

A. Hi, Joan. You should probably sprinkle baking soda (a lot of it) there to neutralize the acid remnants. Dabbing it up, you didn't get it all.

Regards,

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Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Brick, New Jersey


February 21, 2012

Q. Can you tell me seven metals that react with an acid to give salt and hydrogen.
The question is related to my 12 year old son's science homework.

Malachy M.
- London, England, UK

Metal Samples


February 21, 2012

A. Hi Malachy. Let me ask you a question first: How much is 351 plus 426? I am confident that you can do this in your head, and equally confident that no teacher ever presented that particular pair of numbers to you. The point is that you learned "extensible" lessons in arithmetic class, like adding the ones column, the tens column, and the hundreds column, rather than learning the sums of pairs of large numbers by rote.

Although the question you have asked seems advanced for a 12 year old, I'm confident that the point is not for him to simply memorize 7 metals by rote, but to learn something "extensible" about chemistry, like the general idea of rows and columns of "The Periodic Table". Thus I suggest that he google that term and, combining it with what he can read on this page, i.e., that aluminum and zinc are two of those metals, he should be able to make some excellent guesses towards 5 more, and then look up the metals he guesses at to confirm the reaction. Best of luck!

Regards,

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Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Brick, New Jersey


February 22, 2012

Q. Hi ... I am NAVEEN ... I need answer for a such difficult question. When an acid react with metal to form metal salt. Is there any solution to avoid the metal salt formation... One thing happened in my lab sulphuric acid reacted with painted metal, the metal salt formed. So kindly request you to tell the solution to avoid salt formation. Don't ignore this question.

Naveen Kumar
- Chennai, Tamil Nadu, INDIA


February 23, 2012

A. Hi, Naveen.

Your question unfortunately entangles issues of practicality, theory, and semantics :-)

Semantically, there is no possible way to avoid formation of metal salts, because we are talking "definitions", and the reaction product of metals and acids metallic salts is "defined" as hydrogen plus metallic salts. But speaking in terms of theory, these salts do not necessarily precipitate, they may remain in solution depending on their solubility limit at a given temperature. In practical terms, you can certainly filter out any non-soluble metal salts and the remnants of the reaction between paint and acid. Good luck.

Regards,

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Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Brick, New Jersey


March 7, 2012

A. Another 'solution' would be for Naveen to make all of his / her labware and lab furniture out of acid-resistant plastics! No metal salts there!

(Sorry, I couldn't resist...)

Lee Gearhart
metallurgist
East Aurora, New York


March 7, 2012

Q. When acids react with carbonates, what specific ionic compounds do they produce?

Naay Owus
- Toronto, Ontario, Canada


March 7, 2012

A. Hi, Naay. Are you asking what would happen if you combined an acid like HCl with a carbonate like CaCO3?

_H+Cl- + _Ca++CO3- - =>  ?

Balance the equation and write your guess, and then we can go on ...

Regards,

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Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Brick, New Jersey


March 13, 2012

Q. I am 12 years old and am achieving a level 7 (I should only be achieving a level 5) and need the answer to answer the question my science teacher gave me! Tell me how we use metals and acids as a reaction in the real world?
Please help; many thanks.

Melodydeleted
- England


March 14, 2012

A. Hi. One example is that metals are dissolved in acids so that we can electroplate them; for example to make relatively inexpensive jewelry out of copper, but coated with gold. Acids are also used to remove rust from steel and tarnish from other metals. Wet a cloth with vinegar (an acid), shake a little salt on it, and rub the tarnish off a brown penny with it.

Regards,

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Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Brick, New Jersey


April 2, 2012

Q. Dear sir, why does hydrogen ion not easily discharge as compared to sodium ion in Castner Kellner cell, while in normal cells hydrogen ion discharges at cathode more easily than hydrogen ion?

Mohsin Baig
- Sindh, Pakistan


August 21, 2012

Q. What would you observe when barium chloride solution is added to dilute sulfuric acid?

Megan Koh
- Singapore

August 22, 2012

A. Hi Megan. Please put this into context. Otherwise, people might assume that you simply posted your homework assignment on the internet for someone else to do. And we know you wouldn't do that, right?

But start by considering what reactions might occur with these reagents, and what observable properties the products of the reaction might have. Good luck.

Regards,

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Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Brick, New Jersey


August 25, 2012

Thanks for the advice. Anyway I've found the answer. A white precipitate, Barium sulfate, BaSO4, will be formed.

Megan Koh
- Singapore

August 27, 2012

thumbsup2Sounds good to me. Congratulations.

Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
finishing.com
Brick, New Jersey



September 15, 2012

Q. Hello!
I'm a Grade 8 Student And I would like to know what difference would I see if zinc is put in to hydrochloric acid and when sulphur is put in to hydrochloric acid?

Zoey deleted
- Canada

September 19, 2012

A. Dear Zoey,

Sulphur (only S atoms) is a non-polar solid that does not react with acids, at least at room temperature (with nitric acid you may get a reaction heating, but I don't think that you could with hydrochloric). So, you may get some sulphur and hydrochloric acid as products (no change).

Zinc (Zn atoms in a crystalline metal matrix) is a metal that DOES react with acids eagerly... You may get hydrogen and zinc ions (Zn++) as byproducts in this reaction:

2 HCl + Zn --> H2 + Zn++ + 2 Cl-

Hope I answered your question! Best regards,

Daniel Montanes
- Cañuelas, Buenos Aires, Argentina


September 20, 2012

A. Hi Zoey,

Probably too late for you to use, but the first thing you should do is write the left hand side of the chemical equations:

e.g. Zn + HCl -> ?
S + HCl -> ?

Now if you can work out what goes on the right hand side of the equation and balance up all your atoms it should give you an idea whether you will witness anything happening or whether it will just sit there and not react at all. Best of luck.

Brian Terry
aerospace - Yeovil, Somerset, United Kingdom

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