Reactions of metals with acid

When metals react with acids, a salt of the metal and hydrogen gas are formed.

We can investigate the reactivity of different metals by placing samples in acid and comparing the results.

Watch this video to see how this experiment can be carried out.

Reaction of metals with acid

The reactions of metals with acids gets faster and more violent as we go from platinum, the least reactive, to potassium, the most reactive.The reaction of a metal with acids gets faster the more reactive it is

This is the general word equation for the reaction:

metal + acid → salt + hydrogen

The salt of the metal produced in the reaction depends on the acid used. Salts are named following the rules in this table.

Acid nameSalt name ending
Hydrochloric acid...chloride
Sulfuric acid...sulfate
Nitric acid...nitrate

We can use this rule to write out equations of different reactions, for example the reaction of magnesium with hydrochloric acid.

Word equation

magnesium + hydrochloric acid → magnesium chloride + hydrogen

Chemical equation

Mg(s) + 2 HCl(aq) → MgCl2(s) + H2(g)

Metals above hydrogen on the electrochemical series react with acids