What happens when aluminium reacts with hydrochloric acid?

Alu­minum re­acts with di­lut­ed hy­drochlo­ric acid at room tem­per­a­ture. The met­al aluminium dis­solves in hy­drochlo­ric acid, producing alu­minum chlo­ride and col­or­less hy­dro­gen gas. The re­ac­tion taking place between aluminium and hydrochloric acid is ir­re­versible. And the fi­nal prod­ucts will not re­act with each oth­er.

Type of reaction

The re­ac­tion be­tween metal­lic alu­minum and hy­drochlo­ric acid is what is known as an ox­i­da­tion-re­duc­tion re­ac­tion or redox reaction. Both oxidation and reduction take place simultaneously.

Reactions involved

Listed below are the stepwise reaction taking place in between aluminium and hydrochloric acid

Step 1: Alu­minum acts as the re­duc­ing agent, giv­ing up elec­trons:

Al⁰ – 3e → Al³⁺

Step 2: Cations of hy­drochlo­ric acid take these elec­trons and are re­duced to molec­u­lar hy­dro­gen:

2H⁺ + 2e → H₂↑

The com­plete ion­ic re­ac­tion equa­tion is as follows:

2Al⁰ + 6H⁺ + 6Cl⁻ → 2Al³⁺ + 6Cl⁻ + 3H₂↑

Net-ion­ic form:

2Al⁰ + 6H⁺ → 2Al³⁺ + 3H₂↑

Balanced equation

In molec­u­lar form, the re­ac­tion looks as fol­lows:

2Al + 6HCl → 2Al­Cl₃ + 3H₂↑

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