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Learning Zone - The Chemical Reactivity Series

Back to Reactivity page Aluminium, Al back to reactivity page

Reaction with water

Aluminium does not react with cold water.

Although aluminium reacts readily with steam to give aluminium oxide and hydrogen gas, the reaction does not always occur. This is due to a thin but strong layer of aluminium oxide being coated onto the metal, thus preventing it from the reaction.

aluminium + steam > aluminium oxide + hydrogen
2Al(s) + 3H2O(g) > Al2O3(s) + 3H2(g)

Reaction with oxygen

Strong heating is required to make aluminium powder burn in oxygen. Much heat is given out during the reaction and a white powder is formed.

aluminium + oxygen > aluminium oxide
4Al(s) + 3O2(g) > 2Al2O3(s)

Reaction with dilute acids

Aluminium reacts with dilute hydrochloric acid to give aluminium chloride and hydrogen gas.

aluminium + hydrochloric acid > aluminium chloride + hydrogen
2Al(s) + 6HCl (aq) > 2AlCl3 (aq) + 3H2(g)

Aluminium reacts with dilute sulphuric acid to give aluminium sulphate and hydrogen gas.

aluminium + sulphuric acid > aluminium sulphate + hydrogen
2Al(s) + 3H2SO4(aq) > Al2(SO4)3(aq) + 3H2(g)

Aluminium reacts with dilute nitric acid to give aluminium nitrate and hydrogen gas.

aluminium + nitric acid > aluminium nitrate + hydrogen
2Al(s) + 6HNO3 (aq) > 2Al(NO3)3 (aq) + 3H2(g)

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