LAB: Some Metals Are More Reactive Than Others

The aim of this lab report is to classify five metals in order of most to least reactive to hydrochloric acid.
  • Iron
  • Aluminum
  • Copper
  • Magnesium
  • Zinc

Variables Table:

What is/are

How will it be changed?
How will it be measured?
How will it be controlled?

Independent Variable
the types of metals that
are put into the test tubes

by having 5 different test tubes with different metals in all of them then experimenting on all of them
Dependent Variable
The gas that is let out from the metal reaction. We check this by measuring the size of the balloon
The balloon will be measured by using a measuring tape.
Constant Variables
the mass of the 5 metals
they will be measured using a balance then put into different test tubes
the amount of liquid put into each test tube
they will be measured using a graduated cylinder then the solution will be put into the test tube
the same balloon will be used for all 5 experiments
By doing the experiments one at a time then taking off the balloon and going to the next test tube and using that balloon again.


If the five different types of metals are mixed with Hydrochloric Acid then Magnesium is going to be the most reactive followed by Iron, Copper, Zinc and Aluminum because Magnesium falls in the group furthest to the noble gases and Aluminum falls in the group closest; Magnesium also has the least valence electrons making the element to become more reactive.

Euipment List:
· 5 Test Tubes
· 25ml Hydrochloric Acid (5ml for each element)
· 5 small thin cover balloons
· 1 Camera
· 1 Ruler
· 1 Weighing machine
· 5 Petri dishes
· 5 Powdered Metals (Zinc, Aluminum, Copper, Iron and Magnesium)
· 1 Test Tube wrack
· 1 Measuring Tape
· 1 Graduated Cylinder

1. Gather all the equipments needed for the experiment (follow equipment list).
2. Put on the safety gear (safety glasses and a lab coat).
3. Weigh the powdery substance of all the metals making sure that they all weigh the same; 0.5g.
4. Put 5 ml of hydrochloric acid in five different test tubes.
5. Put the 0.5g of each metal into separate test tube.
6. Cover the top of the test tube with powdered metal in it, with a balloon.
7. Record the observation onto your observations table if anything different comes up.
8. Estimate the size of the balloons; arrange them from smallest to biggest.
9. Take photos or record videos of the reaction of the metal
10. Record a qualitative observation about each one of the balloons.

Diagram of Apparatus:

Observation Table of Reactivity in Metals with Hydrochloric Acid:

Observation of Reactivity
Size of the Balloon - Result
The solution remains at the bottom of the test tube
a few bubbles are rising from the middle of the test tube.
There is some solution floating at the top of the acid.

the balloon looks flat
if squeezed you can still feel a bit of growth

The iron is at the bottom of the test tube
Bubbles are rising from the solution
some bubbles are stuck on the side of the glass

The balloon is facing the right
If squeezed a bit you can tell the balloon is growing and has grown.

The solution remains on the bottom and floating on the top. bubbles are quickly rising for the first five minutes
later on bubbles are still rising from all directions after 5 minutes but not quickly.

The balloon has risen from its normal position.
you can see the balloon has grown in size

Bubbles continue to go up at a quick speed even after a long duration of time.
The solution is at the bottom and not anywhere else.
after every few seconds a big bubble will appear

The balloon is slowly rising but continues to rise after a long duration of time.
After 5 minutes the balloon rises up to the air and the tip of the balloon is pointing towards the ceiling.

The balloon goes up straight away.
the water has turned white
there is bits of magnesium at the bottom
bubbles are forming for the first 3 minutes
heat is being produced
after 10 minutes the white is transparent
after 15minutes the bubbles are rising slowly

The balloon looks swollen
it is pointing upwards towards the ceiling

1. Our aim was met and we were able to classify the five solutions from least to most reactive to Hydrochloric acid but we think our classification not to be trusted because the experiment was only done once.
2. Our hypothesis was close to our result we got the most reactive and least reactive right but the other three which all shared around the same amount of valence electrons was harder to hypothesize. We were also right about copper being 3rd in order of most reactive to least but Zinc and Iron were totally misplaced and needed to be switched, although we got a few wrong our theory was right to look at the Periodic Table to help us with our hypothesis because most of the metals in our hypothesis were already in the right order.
3. Our theory was definitely right about Magnesium being further to the noble gases meaning it's more reactive unlike aluminum which was closer to the noble gases and ended up reacting the least that corrects out theory about the solution and the periodic table.
4. When particles are quickly reacting they release energy, to us energy is heat. In this experiment when 0.5g of Magnesium was dropped into a test tube which contained 5ml of Hydrochloric acid the Magnesium quickly reacted to the new substance and as it was quickly reacting it was releasing energy this could be observed by touching the outside of the test tube and feeling the heat, This indicated the energy being released from the Magnesium particles.

1. Reliability talks about how much we can trust our results. Although the experiments had been tested only once by each group, as a whole classroom, the same tests had been done by many different groups (UNIS, Hanoi). To make this test more reliable, it could be done by the same group many times but even without that, the test is very reliable.

2. The experiments were valid as the aim was to control all the variables and only change the type of solid (powdered metal) that was being tested. However, the most qualitative data was used in cases when it was difficult to make sure that only the independent variable was changed.

3. Weaknesses in the Lab and ways to Improve them
In this experiment, the metals were observed for different amount of time. While some of the metals were absorbed for few minutes, some were absorbed longer.
It would have been better if there were five people putting the five metals in the test tubes at the same time. This would have made the test even more fair and accurate.
While recording the data using a flip camera, the camera ran out of battery half way through the test.
This resulted in losing the observations when the test began.

We could make SURE that the camera was full of battery and also that it had enough space in its memory so that the next time, there would be no problems recording the data.
4. Yes, the variables were controlled. The lab experiment was a fair test as it was made sure that the
ame amount of solids were used with the same amount of Hydrochloric Acid. Also that the same test for all the metals were done about the same time.

Cameron and Shailvi
Subject Author Replies Views Last Message
Problem shailvikumar shailvikumar 0 30 Dec 18, 2009 by shailvikumar shailvikumar
a few thoughts Andrea_Law Andrea_Law 0 35 Dec 16, 2009 by Andrea_Law Andrea_Law
Pre experiment feedback stangey stangey 0 47 Dec 10, 2009 by stangey stangey
CAMERON! shailvikumar shailvikumar 0 38 Dec 10, 2009 by shailvikumar shailvikumar
Appearance of your wiki Andrea_Law Andrea_Law 0 43 Dec 10, 2009 by Andrea_Law Andrea_Law