The reaction between hydrochloric acid and zinc

Properties of zinc and specifics of its interactions with HCl

[Deposit Photos]

Phys­i­cal prop­er­ties of metal­lic zinc

Zinc is a brit­tle, sil­very-blue met­al. It is quite duc­tile and mal­leable at tem­per­a­tures rang­ing from 100-150 °С.


Zinc like­ly gained its name from the fact that its crys­tals re­sem­ble nee­dles (from the Ger­man “Zinke,” mean­ing “prong”). Zinc is so brit­tle that you can even hear an au­di­ble crack if a zinc rod is bent at nor­mal tem­per­a­tures. At tem­per­a­tures of 100-150 °С, zinc be­comes duc­tile, and thus can be used as a sol­der. How­ev­er, the sil­very met­al be­comes brit­tle again at high­er tem­per­a­tures.

Chem­i­cal prop­er­ties of zinc

[Deposit Photos]

The 30th el­e­ment in the pe­ri­od­ic ta­ble is a strong re­duc­er. The met­al burns at high tem­per­a­tures, form­ing am­pho­ter­ic white zinc ox­ide. Its com­bus­tion is ac­com­pa­nied by a blue flame:

2Zn + O₂ → 2ZnO

Zinc oxide [Wikimedia]

Zinc re­acts quite vi­o­lent­ly with sul­fur, burn­ing with a yel­low-green flame:

Zn + S → ZnS

Zinc re­acts with halo­gens in the pres­ence of mois­ture:

Zn + Cl₂ → Zn­Cl₂

Zinc also re­acts with wa­ter va­por at 600-800 °С to form hy­dro­gen and zinc ox­ide:

Zn + 2H₂O = ZnO + H₂↑

If a piece of zinc is im­mersed in di­lut­ed sul­fu­ric acid, bub­bles of hy­dro­gen are re­leased:

H₂­SO₄ + Zn = Zn­SO₄ + H₂↑

Zinc sulfate [Wikimedia]

Zinc is a heavy met­al com­pared with lithi­um, for in­stance, so the bub­bles don’t rise to the sur­face.

Look here for some awe­some ex­per­i­ments with zinc.

Re­ac­tion of zinc and hy­drochlo­ric acid

Let’s ex­am­ine the ex­am­ple of the in­ter­ac­tion be­tween zinc and hy­drochlo­ric acid. Zinc also re­acts with HCl, re­leas­ing small bub­bles of hy­dro­gen and form­ing zinc chlo­ride Zn­Cl₂.

Zn + HCl → Zn­Cl₂ + H₂↑