Investigation of the rate of reaction between Magnesium and Hydrochloric acid

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Investigation of the rate of reaction between Magnesium and Hydrochloric acid

By Hashim Al-Hasani 11R


Chemical reactions occur when reactant particles collide with each other,

Collision Theory

If particles collide with less energy than the activation energy, they will not react. The particles would just crash into each other. The more regularly particles collide, and the greater the number of collisions with right amount of energy, the faster the rate (speed) of reaction.

In this investigation I will be investigating the rate of reaction between a metal and acid. The rate of reaction is affected by numerous factors; these factors are:

  • Temperature
  • Surface area
  • Concentration
  • Use of Catalyst


Temperature affects the rate of reaction because heat affects the movement of the particles; the higher the temperature, the faster the movement of the particles, therefore the faster the reaction.

Surface Area

Surface Area affects the rate of reaction because the bigger the area for the particles to react, more collisions occur, meaning the rate of reaction is greater.


Concentration affects the rate of reaction because an increase in concentration means more particles to react with each other – therefore increasing the successful collisions between the particles and resulting in a higher rate of reaction.

Use of Catalyst
A catalyst lowers the activation energy of the reaction, therefore speeding up the rate at which the reaction happens.

Possible Methods to measure the rate of reaction

There are many different methods in which the speed of a reaction can be measured. These are the 3 most common methods to measure the speed of a reaction:

Name: Mass Loss

Description: As the gas is released the total mass of the solution is measured on the balance.                                 The quicker the reading on the balance drops, the faster the reaction.

Advantages:  ’Rate of reaction graphs’ are easy to plot using the results from this method.  

It is the most accurate method because the mass balance is very accurate.

Disadvantages:  The gas is released straight into the room and if the flask is not covered by the cotton

Wool properly, drops might escape from the flask which lowers the total mass of the solution unnecessarily.

Name: Gas Syringe

Description: This method involves the use of a gas syringe to measure the volume of gas given off.                         The more gas given off during a time interval, the faster the reaction.

Advantages:  A graph of gas volume against time could be plotted to give a rate of reaction graph.                         Gas syringes give volumes to the nearest cm³, making them accurate.
                Very quick and easy to use and very simple. Does not take long to set up.

Disadvantages:  If the reaction is too violent, the gas syringe itself can be pushed out of the back end of the gas syringe and it may cause damage.

Name: The ‘Mark’ Method

Description:  Draw any mark on a piece of paper and put the paper under a beaker, then you pour in the reactants, and as they react the solution gets cloudier. Eventually it gets so cloudy that you can’t actually see the mark anymore. You measure how long it takes for the mark to become invisible; the shorter the time the faster the reaction        

Advantages:  easy to set up, and only one result needs to be recorded (the time it takes for the mark to disappear.)

Disadvantages:  This method only works if the solution is see-through. Also people might disagree when the mark has appeared or not.

Preliminary Work

The reason why I need to do Preliminary work before starting the real investigation is so that I can find out exactly WHAT acid to choose, WHAT metal to choose, WHAT method to choose, and finally to work out WHAT I’m going to investigate in the real experiment.

What I’ll be choosing Preliminary Work 1,
the measuring cylinder that I’ll use for the preliminary is the 25ml (0.5ml). We will use this as this measuring cylinder would be more accurate as the readings are in 0.5ml.
Relating to the measuring cylinder, we will use 50ml of acid, therefore we will be using the measuring cylinder twice.

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I will also use a stopwatch to record the time of how much gas has been made. I will record the readings at 30-second intervals.

I chose magnesium strips, as it is easy to measure the length of the strip using a ruler and therefore I would know how much magnesium I am using.

I also chose the metal ‘calcium carbonate’ in both large and small granules so that I can see the difference in the rate of the reaction between the two sizes.

I also chose iron fillings as it is easier to weigh than Iron Wool.

I will ...

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This is a reasonably well written laboratory report. It uses the appropriate level of scientific terminology with spelling punctuation and grammar of a generally good quality. Good features and further improvements have been suggested throughout.