Copper does not react with hydrochloric acid. Image credit

Copper does not react with hydrochloric acid. Image credit

ZIMSEC O Level Combined Science Notes:  Experiment: The reaction of metals with dilute Hydrochloric acid

Aim: To examine the reactivity of metals with dilute hydrochloric acid

Materials: 5 test tubes, dilute hydrochloric acid, magnesium, zinc, iron, lead, copper


  1. Place about 5cm depth of the acid in each of the five test tubes
  2. Place a small piece of each of the three metals above. About 3 mm long in each test tube
  3. Note the evolution of hydrogen bubbles and compare the different rates at which the bubbles are formed
  4. Make a table of results noting whether the evolution of hydrogen bubbles was rapid, slow, very slow or none apparent

Results and Observations

MetalRate of reaction
MagnesiumRapid evolution of bubbles
ZincFast evolution of bubbles
LeadSlow evolution of bubbles
CopperNone apparent


  • The most reactive metals like magnesium and zinc reacted much more quickly with dilute acid
  • Copper hardily reacts with dilute acids

To access more topics go to the Combined Science Notes page.

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