Problem: Which metal dissolves in HNO3 but not in HCl?(a) Fe          (b) Au          (c) Ag

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 Loss Electrons → Oxidation → Reducing Agent

• Gain Electrons → Reduction → Oxidizing Agent

Smaller (↓) E° → oxidation → stronger reducing agent
Larger (↑) E° → reduction → weaker reducing agent


HCl → H+ + Cl-

H+ + 2 e → H2                      E° = 0.00 V
Cl2 + 2 e- → Cl-                     E° = +1.35827 V


HNO3 → H+ + NO3-

H+ + 2 e → H2                                           E° = 0.00 V
NO3- + 4 H+ + 3 e- → NO + 2 H2O             E° = +0.957 V


metals dissolved → oxidized → lose electrons

Fe3+ 3 e- → Fe                      E° = –0.037 V

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Problem Details

Which metal dissolves in HNO3 but not in HCl?

(a) Fe          (b) Au          (c) Ag

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Based on our data, we think this problem is relevant for Professor Navarro Eisenstein's class at GSU.