The Reactivity Series
The Reaction of Metals with Dilute Acid.
lithium and calcium all react violently
with dilute sulfuric acid and dilute hydrochloric acid.
It is dangerous to put these metals into an acid.
The reaction is similar to the reaction with water,
forming the metal salt (either sulfate or chloride) plus H2(g).
hydrochloric acid sodium chloride
2Na(s) + 2HCl(aq) 2NaCl(aq) + H2(g)
zinc, iron, tin and
react safely with dilute acid.
Magnesium is the fastest and lead is the slowest of the six.
sulfuric acid magnesium
sulfate + hydrogen.
Mg(s) + H2SO4(aq) MgSO4(aq) + H2(g)
acid magnesium chloride + hydrogen.
Mg(s) + 2HCl(aq) MgCl2(aq) + H2(g)
(see how to measure the rate of the reaction)
hydrochloric acid aluminium chloride + hydrogen.
2Al(s) + 6HCl(aq) 2AlCl3(aq) + 3H2(g)
zinc sulfate + hydrogen.
Zn(s) + H2SO4(aq) ZnSO4(aq) + H2(g)
acid iron(II) chloride + hydrogen.
Fe(s) + 2HCl(aq) FeCl2(aq) + H2(g)
acid tin(II) chloride + hydrogen.
Sn(s) + 2HCl(aq) SnCl2(aq) + H2(g)
lead sulfate + hydrogen.
Pb(s) + H2SO4(aq) PbSO4(s) + H2(g)
The reaction of zinc with
sulfuric acid is often used to
make a small amount of hydrogen in the laboratory - see moles.
The reaction is slow at room temperature
but its rate can be increased by the
addition of a little copper(II) sulphate.
Zinc displaces copper metal, which acts as a catalyst.
Metals below hydrogen
in the reactivity
(copper, silver, gold and platinum) will not react with dilute acid.
They cannot displace hydrogen from the non-metal anion.
See displacement reactions (next page).
Links The Reactivity Series Revision Questions
gcsescience.com The Periodic Table Index Reactivity Series Quiz gcsescience.com
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