# Nitric acid and magnesium reaction, slow gas production

• mbeaumont99
In summary, the conversation discusses a student's difficulty in understanding the slow production rate of hydrogen gas in a reaction between nitric acid and magnesium. They consider the possibility of other gases being produced, such as nitrogen oxide or ammonia, and question why the reaction is not as efficient as expected. The student seeks help in determining the cause of this outcome.
mbeaumont99

## Homework Statement

I need to work out what is happening with the above reaction. Why is my data showing a very slow hydrogen gas production rate (if it even is hydrogen gas), in fact, even slower than the production of hydrogen gas from the reaction of magnesium and ethanoic acid. All acids used were 1 mol/L. Magnesium ribbon used had (roughly) the same surface area and mass.

## Homework Equations

Mg(s) + 2H+(aq) → Mg2+(aq) + H2(g)

## The Attempt at a Solution

With nitric acid being a strong acid and magnesium being a reactive metal surely the hydrogen gas production would be very high, just like that of HCl with magnesium. Magnesium is a strong reductant and nitric acid is a strong oxidant, could this be what is causing a problem with the reaction. I read on wiki that this COULD be due to the reaction producing nitrogen oxide (+1, +2, or +4 oxidation states for nitrogen - different sources giving different nitrogen oxides). Why would nitric acid and magnesium reacting produce a different gas to hydrogen at such a slow rate. I would really appreciate help with determining why this outcome has occurred. Thanks

Perhaps hydrogen is reacting with the nitric acid reducing it to ammonia.

## 1. What is the chemical equation for the reaction between nitric acid and magnesium?

The chemical equation for this reaction is 2HNO3 + Mg → Mg(NO3)2 + H2. This means that two molecules of nitric acid react with one magnesium atom to produce one molecule of magnesium nitrate and one molecule of hydrogen gas.

## 2. Why does the reaction between nitric acid and magnesium produce slow gas production?

The slow gas production is due to the fact that the reaction between nitric acid and magnesium is not a very exothermic reaction. This means that it does not release a large amount of heat, which is necessary for gas production to occur at a faster rate.

## 3. What is the role of nitric acid in this reaction?

Nitric acid acts as an oxidizing agent in this reaction. It reacts with the magnesium to form magnesium nitrate and also provides the necessary oxygen for the reaction to occur.

## 4. What factors can affect the rate of this reaction?

The rate of this reaction can be affected by several factors, including the concentration of nitric acid, the surface area of the magnesium, and the temperature of the reaction. Increasing the concentration of nitric acid or the surface area of magnesium can speed up the reaction, while decreasing the temperature can slow it down.

## 5. Is the reaction between nitric acid and magnesium safe to perform in a laboratory setting?

This reaction can produce toxic fumes and should only be performed under proper safety measures in a well-ventilated laboratory. It is important to wear appropriate protective gear, such as gloves and goggles, and to dispose of the products properly after the reaction is complete.

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