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Magnesium Experiment


I am doing an experiment in which I react magnesium ribbon to hydrochloric acid. Can you tell me the process and how this works.

Latoya Grant
- Spring Valley, New York, United States


Magnesium ribbon is just another form of magnesium metal. This reacts with hydrochloric acid (and virtually all other acids) to form the acid salt of magnesium and hydrogen:

Mg + 2HCl = MgCl2 + H2

Hydrogen is a gas and will be seen as bubbles. However, it is also very explosive, so do not have any flames around when you do it, unless you know exactly what you are doing! Magnesium chloride is soluble, so the magnesium ribbon will slowly disappear into solution.

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



I was wondering if you could help me, I've got to do my GCSE chemistry coursework on the reaction between hydrochloric acid and magnesium ribbon, but I can't find any Scientific Knowledge to put in the coursework, would you please be able to give me some?

Thank you very much,

- Lincoln


Hi, yeh the magnesium ribbon reacts with the hydrochloric acid in a redox reaction, where the magnesium is reduced and hydrogen is oxidised as it gains electrons from the magnesium. It becomes MgCl which is soluble in solution so effervescence is seen as it dissolves and hydrogen is released. Background knowledge you should just write about different factors affecting rate like surface area, concentration or temperature depending on which one you are looking at and explain why, for example with temperature talk about the kinetic energy and collision theory.

Hope I've helped xx

Katie S
- UK

January 19, 2010

I think Kate is wrong
oxidation is the Loss of electrons so the magnesium is oxidised and the hydrogen reduced as the hydrogen gains electrons lost from the magnesium.

Anjola Odulaja
- UK

January 19, 2010

Hi, Anjola. You are right, the magnesium is oxidized and the hydrogen is reduced.


Ted Mooney, Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Pine Beach, New Jersey

April 18, 2013

Q. Can somebody tell me will it be cold or hot when we touch the outside of the beaker where the experiment is conducted? Thanks.

Ed M. Beck
- Seattle, Washington

April 23, 2013

A. Hi Ed. According to Wikipedia: "An experiment is an orderly procedure carried out with the goal of verifying, falsifying, or establishing the validity of a hypothesis . . . In the scientific method, an experiment is an empirical method that arbitrates between competing models or hypotheses". I hope this helps.


Ted Mooney,
Teds signature
Ted Mooney, P.E.
Pine Beach, New Jersey

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