The goal of this experiment is to learn how to identify an unknown metal element, by reacting it with an acid. By reacting metals with a more negative reduction potential than hydrogen ions, it can reduce them to diatomic hydrogen gas. This means that when such a metal (of known mass) is reacted with an acid, one can collect the hydrogen gas released, in a container of known volume and temperature, and calculate the number of moles of hydrogen via the ideal gas law formula:
Given that one would then know the amount of hydrogen released by the reaction, and the acid used, one could then calculate how many moles of acid was used, and then from that, potential stochiometric ratios of the metal. Given that one had measured the mass, and now knows the number of moles (potentially, given possible stoichiometric differences), and that moles are equal to grams divided by the formula weight of the element, one could then calculate the possible formula weight via the equation:
The various stoichiometries can then be tested via this equation, and the result cross referenced against the periodic tables, and thus be used to determine which element was the unknown metal.