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Dissolve Aluminum - Golden Book Chemistry Answered

In the Golden Book of Chemistry, page 64, there're instructions for dissolving aluminum. The book states that HYDROGEN is released when aluminum strips are dissolved in hydrochloric acid and ALUMINUM CHLORIDE is formed. That's about all we get from the book concerning that particular experiment. Just wondering if this is correct, how to test it, what it should look like and what may we [the kids and myself] may do with it if it's actually aluminum chloride. It's a good book, but quite a bit of theory's lacking. Thanks all.


That is correct - it is a standard school chemistry reaction;

Metal + acid -> metal salt + hydrogen

A semantic point, though; the aluminium does not actually dissolve. It reacts to form the chloride, which then dissolves.

That semantic point was exactly the type of info I like to get across to the kids. Semantics are what differentiate the masters from the jacks [not really, I just like coming up with my own not-so-witty quips]


6 years ago

Aluminum Chloride has a number of uses, although as a deodorant additive is probably the lest useful.
Aluminum chloride can cause burns if it's not buffered correctly.

If you take the Aluminum chloride residue and bake it until it's dry it can be used to attach acyllium functional groups to benzene rings.

The book is correct in that AlCl3 is formed in the reaction. It will produce alot of heat and hydrogen gas. The AlCl3 is a dark muddy steel gray color and highly corrosive. An inverted test tube to catch the hydrogen gas then light it and it will pop! A small test tube and it will startle you. The AlCl3 should be handled with gloves. I just throw it away.
For a home type experiment I would use a large test tube and place about (2) 1 inch squares of aluminum foil rolled up into balls in the bottom of it. Then drop HCl onto them with a glass rod or a eye dropper. Place a small test tube over the top of the large one just to the side as to not allow pressure to build up. After a "little bit" of hydrogen gas is caught in the small test tube place a piece of cardboard over it to trap the gas in. Now remove the cardboard and place a long fireplace match or BBQ lighter in the test tube and it will POP! If there is only a small amount of the gas present, then it will flash. Too much gas and the test tube will shatter!
Please be careful.

There is always a quick search on Aluminum Chloride. It seems to be used as the active ingredient in anti-perspirants/deodorants and is reactive with water.  You basic chemical equations should predict  the reaction if you are doing it under controlled chem lab conditions.  I don't know if it precipitates out and you can measure it by weight.  

Any chemistry book gives you just enough info to be dangerous.  Do your research before you start messing around.  Good luck.

Thanks CD.

Yeah, I know it's frowned upon, but I rarely get my answers from a wiki or google search. When I post, I'm almost certain to get current info, and it's sometimes helpful when the subject is srcutinized amongst other members.
[not in this particular instance] My apologies.

Anyway, does my back porch fall under controlled chem lab conditions? lol
We are doing homeschool stuff; I certainly wish we had access to a chemistry lab. And yeah, that particular book [pdf] is one of those which gives JUST the dangerous info.