In the reaction Mg(s) + 2HCl(aq) -> MgCl2(aq) + H2(g), what role does magnesium play?

In this reaction Mg(s) + 2 HCl(aq) → MgCl2(aq) + H2(g) magnesium metal is being oxidized to magnesium cations, Mg2+. Hydrogen is being reduced from hydrogen ions, H+, to hydrogen gas, H2. So we can conclude that the above reaction is a redox reaction. Therefore, you can say that magnesium is acting a reducing agent because it reduces hydrogen to hydrogen gas while being oxidized in the process whereas hydrochloric acid plays the role of an oxidizing agent as it oxidizes magnesium to magnesium cations while being reduced in the process.

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