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Acid Strengths

Experiment #18 from Physical Science with Vernier


Acids react with metals. For example, hydrochloric acid reacts with zinc metal according to the equation

{\text{Zn(s) + 2 HCl(aq)}} \to {{\text{H}}_{\text{2}}}{\text{(g) + ZnC}}{{\text{l}}_{\text{2}}}{\text{(aq)}}

Strong acids react faster and more vigorously with metals than do weak acids. Because water solutions of acids contain ions, these solutions conduct electricity. The measure of electrical conductivity is related to the number of ions in solution. Conductivity units are microsiemens per centimeter (μS/cm).


In this experiment, you will

  • React zinc metal with various acids.
  • Measure electrical conductivity.
  • Investigate the relationships among acid strength, electrical conductivity, degree of ionization, and chemical activity.

Sensors and Equipment

This experiment features the following sensors and equipment. Additional equipment may be required.

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This experiment is #18 of Physical Science with Vernier. The experiment in the book includes student instructions as well as instructor information for set up, helpful hints, and sample graphs and data.

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