Some acids that react with metals are sulfuric acid, hydrochloric acid and nitric acid. The most common metals that react with acids are iron, lead, magnesium and zinc.
Many metals react with acids, but not all. As metals react with acids, salts and hydrogen gas form.
Aluminium, iron, lead, magnesium, tin and zinc all react safely with diluted acid. Magnesium has the fastest reaction and lead has the slowest.
Zinc is often combined with diluted sulphuric acid in creating laboratory prepared hydrogen. The reaction between them is slow at room temperature, but the rate can be increased by adding a small amount of copper sulphate. The zinc displaces the copper, which then acts as a catalyst.
Metals that react with acids are called active metals. These metals can displace the hydrogen ions from acids to create hydrogen gas. Copper, gold, platinum and silver are not active enough to react with acids. They cannot displace hydrogen from non-metal anions.
The general equation for this form of chemical reaction is written as "active metal + acid = salt + hydrogen gas." Hydrochloric acid creates a metal chloride and sulphuric acid creates a metal sulphate.
With nitric acid, the nitrate is formed but the gas produced is rarely hydrogen. More often, it is an oxide of nitrogen.