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The Chemical Educator

ISSN: 1430-4171 (electronic version)

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Abstract Volume 19 (2014) pp 045-049

An Experiment Utilizing Corrosion of Aluminum to Illustrate a Contracting Volume Rate Law

Thomas B. Sobyra and James E. House*

Department of Chemistry, Illinois Wesleyan University, Bloomington, IL 61701,
Received December 27, 2013. Accepted February 5, 2014.

Published: 9 March 2014

Abstract. Experiments that serve to illustrate some of the rate laws know to be applicable to reactions in the solid state are not numerous. In this experiment, the dissolution of aluminum spheres in hydrochloric acid was studied over a range of acid concentrations and temperatures. Kinetic data for the reaction gave an excellent fit to the contracting volume rate law and are in agreement with a previously proposed mechanism, and the reaction appears to show a second-order dependence on hydrochloric acid. The data obtained by carrying out the reaction at several temperatures yielded results that were analyzed by means of the Arrhenius and Eyring equations to obtain values for energy, enthalpy, and entropy of activation. Values obtained for these parameters are in general agreement with those previously published. The experiment serves to illustrate several principles related to reaction of solids and corrosion processes.

Key Words: Laboratories and Demonstrations; physical chemistry; kinetics

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