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Zinc+hydrochoric acid=? Answered

I put a zinc coated nail into hydrochoric acid and the nail started to bubble.The bubbles came to the surface and when they popped a small cloud of some gas appeared and I was wondering what this gas was.I think to was hydrogen.


Where did you get your acid from? L

Hydrochloric acid is available from chemical suppliers, of course, but you can also find it at farm supply and (allegedly) hardware stores, being sold under the older name of muriatic acid. I haven't looked at any hardware stores, but a store near me called Tractor Supply Company sells it by the pint. I don't recall the concentration. Does anyone know what the heck muriatic/hydrochloric acid is used for, outside of cool chemical reactions?

That's interesting. I know several chemical suppliers which stock aqueous (and anhydrous) HCl, but I'd need an account. Tractor supply, I don't understand, but wouldn't doubt either. There was an auto shop near me sold concentrated sulphuric'. You could assume that this was for topping up car batteries, but who does that? Throwing into people's faces (as is not at all uncommon in certain parts of the world) springs to mind. However, nothing reported in the local press, so I'll go with car batteries. L

Okay...I just bought some. 3.48 USD for 1 quart...That's 3.29 USD per liter, 2.41 euros per liter, or 1.62 GBP per liter. 31.45% hydrogen chloride, 68.55% "inert ingredients." For "Swimming Pools/Cleaning Brick/Etching Concrete," as it says on the front.

31.45% (W/v I assume)? It's not quite 10M, but still strong stuff. Good for you, please take care as it's hazardously corrosive. And what are you going to do with it? L

I will definitely be careful with it. Anything that can etch bricks will probably also etch my face, and to be quite honest, that bottle scares me. Obviously I'll have to dissolve a bit of zinc, but my first priority will be to create a penny shell, just for the heck of it. And who knows, maybe I'll find a brick that needs etching.

I used to work in a builders' merchant - we sold HCl as "patio and concrete cleaner".

I used to do a finance job for Jewson, so this stuff probably crossed my path on invoices. Thanks for the info. Then again I've sloshed plenty of concentrated acids about in my time, and prepared my own HCl in methanol, that was fun. What wasn't fun was spilling 5M aqueous HCl on my jeans and having the stiching disintegrate at lunchtime (I was glad of the lab-coat that day!) L

LOL - I was once sprayed with sulphuric when a pump burst during a trial in a paper mill I worked in. No immediate effects to my clothing, except the only part of my shirt that came back out of the washing machine was the plastic stiffener from the collar.

Whoa, quite serious. (Jiffy bag in the post) L

Car batteries aren't topped off with sulfuric acid. The electrolyte is distilled water. Trust me on this. My dad's EV has 21 of them.

When Lead-Acid batteries loose fluid to evaporation, they only loose water. The Sulfuric Acid doesn't evaporate (much). So when you top off a battery that's lost fluid to evaporation, you top it off with distilled water. If you were to buy a new battery, you would add concentrated Sulfuric acid and distilled water to activate it.

When's the last time you went to a battery store, bought a battery, and they handed you, the potentially clueless consumer, a bottle of highly acidic liquid? Aren't batteries pre-filled? I know that you would use sulfuric acid years ago, I have a pint of fairly concentrated acid on my chemical shelf for filling batteries, and my dad has part of a five-gallon jug somewhere. We're a bit off-topic here....

If you go to Sears or a "Consumer" Auto dealer, a store employee will fill the battery for you prior to sale. You won't go in and pick up a pre-filled battery off of the shelf. They are shipped to the dealer w/o acid.

"pool acid", used for adjusting the acidity of your swimming pool, is pretty much concentrated HCl (it only gets about 37% concentrated, though, so "concentrated Hydrochloric acid" isn't nearly so strong as "concentrated sulfuric acid" (98%) or even "concentrated Nitric acid" (~60%?)) Runs less than $10 for 2 gallons around here. Smaller bottles of "acidifier" for hot tubs and spas are usually something else; it's amazing how little chemicals go into a 300 gallon hot tub vs a 20,000 gallon pool...

Well my dad got so he could clean the padee-o.I don't know why he would use acid but whatever

= zinc chloride + hydrogen gas.

Any reaction between a metal and an acid will produce hydrogen gas.

Mix a healthy dose of washing up liquid into your acid (which could just be vinegar), and the hydrogen should collect as bubbles. Touch a long match to the bubbles, and... == BANG ==

(Well, more of a pop, but still fun to do.)

I always wondered : what can we do with "metal chlorides" ? Is it recyclable ??

Well, you could sprinkle sodium chloride on your chips...

You are chemistry teacher, aren't you? If you were to put pure sodium in hydrochloric acid, would it create table salt? Or am I assuming too much, since I don't take chemistry until this upcoming school year?

It should, but I've never tried it in the acid. The reaction would be very exothermic (get hot, fast), and the NaCl produced would be impure, since the sodium would also be reacting with the water in the acid, so I wouldn't put it on my chips afterwards.

The usual lab way of producing NaCl is to heat a spoonful of the metal then put it in a jar of chlorine - quite an impressive flame.

Okay well how vinegar should add if say I am using 100 mL of hydrochoric?

No idea, it depends on the strength of your hydrochloric. If your acid is fairly strong, I'd stick with that, as the reaction will be quicker. You can also increase the speed of reaction by increasing surface area - use powdered metal, metal filings or metal turnings. You'll get a useful reaction from most metals, but zinc, aluminium, iron, magnesium will react the quickest and still stay safe.