When looking at the differences of what, acid or base, does magnesium and aluminum react to magnesium had a positive reaction to acids. It was expected because magnesium is a metal and metals are corrosive when introduced to acids. Aluminum however, best reacted to sodium hydroxide which I did not expect because aluminum, like magnesium, is also a metal. Another instruction for this laboratory experiment is to observe the metals reactivity to mercury (II) chloride. As results, magnesium had a reaction while aluminum did not.
The theory behind this experiment is that metals are readily oxidized to donate their valence electrons to achieve the octet for and have the noble gas electron configuration. From first-hand experiences and common knowledge, acid corrodes metals. In more scientific terms there is a positive reaction between an acid and a metal. This reaction caused by the acidic hydrogen that gains an electron from the metal, becoming a stable hydrogen gas and is emitted into the atmosphere or surrounding. This reaction is also known as an oxidation-reduction, or redox, reaction. A redox reactions are not only excluded to metal and acids, but generally any free element willing to "give up" its electron to a compound that is willing to receive those electrons. The purpose of this experiment is to prove this theory by comparing what magnesium and aluminum will react to – acid or base. Our hypothesis and expectations are that both will react to the hydrochloric acid. To prove that a redox reaction of a free element does not only have to react with an acid or base, we also tested both magnesium and aluminum with mercury (II) chloride and observed any reaction. From our qualitative observations, the next purpose of this experiment is to balance the chemical equation based on the data collected. .
To prepare and test our predictions, we prepared seven test tubes, three containing magnesium turnings and four with aluminum foil.