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Magnesium ribbon and hydrochloric acid reaction

Q. Hi,

I was wondering if you could help me with my chemistry experiment, I have conducted an experiment in which I react magnesium ribbon with hydrochloric acid. I was wondering if you could give me some background information on what goes on in the experiment, many thanks.

Neeta C [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Birmingham, United Kingdom

A. Hi Neeta. Please start with the first couple of paragraphs of our short presentation on Faraday's Law because it explains what atoms and electrons are, and how reactions in chemistry can be predicted. Then see letter 9644 where the specifics of this particular reaction are explained. Good luck.

Ted Mooney,
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

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Q. I would like to know, when magnesium reacts with an acid it obviously reacts with the hydrogen ions in that acid. BUT what about diluted solutions of acid. In my experiment I have diluted my acid to get lower concentrations. So now the acid surely dissociates (dependent on strength of the acid) so does the magnesium react with the dissociated Hydrogen ions, or does it still react directly with the non-ionised acid ions. Can it do both? You see I'm trying to investigate the reaction kinetics of magnesium and different acids and concentrations, this could have a huge effect on the reaction kinetics, so it's vital that I'm sure of where the ions are coming from to make a prediction! Please can someone help me ASAP!

Kayleigh D [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
A-level chemistry student - Lingfield, Surrey, England

A. I don't know if the information I'm giving you is any help, but my science class was doing an experiment on hydrochloric acid and when it's mixed with magnesium ribbon. We found out that the less concentrated it was, the slower the ribbon oxidized and stuff. I hope this helps. I was just reading stuff about magnesium ribbons for my report and came across this letter.

Dramoonzer [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
high school student - Waldorf, Maryland

Q. I want to know what happens when magnesium ribbon reacts with HCl

Nastasia F [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
student - Jamaica

Q. Help! What Is Made When You Mix Hydrochloric Acid and Magnesium Ribbon?
Please Help !

Lucy M [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
student - Daventry, England


Magnesium Ribbon

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A. Natasia, Lucy,

The previously referenced letter 9644 answers your questions. If you're still confused, please try to rephrase your questions in terms of what you didn't understand. Thanks and good luck with your project!

Ted Mooney,
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey

A. Magnesium ribbon reacts with Hydrochloric acid to form Magnesium chloride and Hydrogen gas.

Anu Batra
- Munich, Germany
March 18, 2009

A. When you contact magnesium metal with an aqueous solution of hydrochloric acid (HCl and H2O) you will get dissolved magnesium chloride and hydrogen gas.

Mg(solid) + 2HCl (aqueous) => H2(gas) + MgCl2 (aqueous)

James Vaughan
- Brisbane, Australia
September 8, 2009

A. When adding two 1 cm strips of magnesium ribbon to a test tube containing 2 cm of hydrochloric acid, your result will be a chemical reaction. Their will be a change in the test tubes temperature, slight fizzing of gas bubbles, then the magnesium ribbon will dissolve into the water, leaving it blue.
Also, if you bring a match to the mouth of the test tube containing to following ^^ then the production of gas followed by a loud pop will occur.

Hope this helped.

Meeno Mariaquee
- Toronto, Ontario, Canada
September 13, 2009

A. When hydrochloric acid is added with magnesium the result is a salt called magnesium chloride.

Bianca Daignault
- Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
October 13, 2011

Q. What observations suggest that the magnesium was in excess.

Hannah W [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Singapore
April 13, 2017

A. Hi Hannah. Getting an answer to a question isn't nearly as important to your education as fully understanding the question. Are you sure that you understand the question? -- because the answer is very simple. If there is magnesium left over, you ran out of acid before you dissolved all the magnesium, so you had excess magnesium. If all the magnesium dissolved, you either had excess HCl or just exactly enough for a perfect balance.

A slightly harder question is, what is a good indication of excess HCl? Well, if the last of the magnesium dissolved very quickly there was a lot of excess of HCl ... because if the magnesium and HCl were in perfect balance, it would take a very long time for the few final molecules of HCl to work their way through all the water and dissolved salts and 'find' the remaining few particles of magnesium.

Thread 7266 also addresses this magnesium plus hydrochloric acid reaction.


pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey
April 2017

Q. My question is how is actual yield or percentage affected if insufficient HCl is added to consume magnesium metal?

Audrey M [last name deleted for privacy by Editor]
- Chinhoyi, Zimbabwe
April 16, 2018

A. Hi Audrey. Again we must ask if you are certain that you understand the question the teacher has asked? If not, you must ask the teacher to clarify for you exactly what the question is.

The 'yield' of what, MgCl2? If you only have half of the HCl which you would need to dissolve all of the magnesium, the 'yield' of MgCl2 in kilograms sounds like it would be ...
Starting weight of Mg in kilograms x 50% x (molecular weight of MgCl2 / atomic weight of Mg).

Luck and Regards,

pic of Ted Mooney
Ted Mooney, P.E. RET
Striving to live Aloha - Pine Beach, New Jersey
April 2018

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