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Answered 2010-10-06 10:37:25

If a copper is clean it doesn't react to acid, unless precisely if the acid is also an oxidising agent.It happens because copper is below hydrogen in the activities series. (will notice that this is not really an explanation, just an impressive way of saying that copper is not reactive enough to react with acids.)

if any reason the copper surface has been oxidised, the copper oxide will dissolve in acid that's the only time it will react to acid.

If the acid is strongly oxidising, the copper can dissolve to make a solution of the copper salt. For example, copper dissolves in concentrated nitric acid to give you nitrogen oxides and copper nitrate in solution, and also in hot concentrated sulphuric acid to give you sulphur dioxide and copper hydrogen-sulphate in solution.

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