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Metal Reactivity, Part II

  1. Sep 28, 2005 #1
    When hydrochloric acid is added to lead and tin, reactions are supposed to occur (tin chloride and lead chloride are products). I know that they are near the end of the activity series of metals, but I find it puzzling that when I added the acid to each metal nothing occurred--that is, I observed no bubbles or signs of a reaction even after waiting for fifteen minutes. What normally happens in the signs of a reaction in these two cases?

  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 28, 2005 #2


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    it is possible that since those two metals are so close to Hydrogen in the reactivity series, the reaction is too slow to observe.
    As we all know, Sodium will displace Hydrogen from water, this reaction can EASILY be observed. Magnesium will also displace Hydrogen from water, but it is a very slow process.
    Likewise, it could be that yes, Lead and Tin will displace Hydrogen from an acid, it is too slow for you to actually water it.

    It is also possible that the oxide coating on the outside of metals (lead and tin oxide) are preventing the reaction from starting up, or atleast are slowing it down.

    Heating the acid and using raw metal with a larger surface area will increase the reaction speed, also the concentration of the acid will effectt the speed aswell.
    Perhaps trying leaving it going over night with something so that if any H2 gas is produced, you will be able to detect it somehow.
  4. Sep 28, 2005 #3
    Adding some H2O2 can help speed up the reaction significantly. When placing a nickel in dilute HCl nothing was observed within the 3 days or so, but when H2O2 was added the solution turned green within 5 minutes.

    Adding Fenton's reagent can even make chlorides from HCl out of metals that are below hydrogen in the reactivity scale- like copper.
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