ⓘ Chemical reaction. A chemical reaction happens when one or more chemicals are changed into one or more other chemicals. Examples: vinegar and baking soda combin ..

Chemical reaction

ⓘ Chemical reaction

A chemical reaction happens when one or more chemicals are changed into one or more other chemicals. Examples:

  • vinegar and baking soda combining to make sodium acetate, carbon dioxide and water
  • many reactions that happen inside living things, such as photosynthesis
  • electrochemical reactions when discharging or recharging batteries
  • things burning or exploding
  • iron and oxygen combining to make rust

Some reactions are fast, and others are slow. Some happen at different speeds, depending on temperature or other things. For example, wood does not react with air when it is cold, but if it is made hot enough, it will start to burn. Some reactions give out energy. These are exothermic reactions. In other reactions, energy is taken in. These are endothermic reactions.

Nuclear reactions are not chemical reactions. Chemical reactions involve only the electrons of atoms; nuclear reactions involve the protons and neutrons in the atomic nuclei.


1.1. Four basic types Synthesis

In a synthesis reaction, two or more simple substances combine to form a more complex substance.

A + B ⟶ A B {\displaystyle A+B\longrightarrow AB}

"Two or more reactants giving one product" is another way to identify a synthesis reaction. One example of a synthesis reaction is the combination of iron and sulfur to form ironII sulfide:

8 F e + S 8 ⟶ 8 F e S {\displaystyle 8Fe+S_{8}\longrightarrow 8FeS}

Another example is simple hydrogen gas combined with simple oxygen gas to produce a more complex substance, such as water.


1.2. Four basic types Decomposition

A decomposition reaction is when a more complex substance breaks down into its more simple parts. It is thus the opposite of a synthesis reaction, and can be written as:

A B ⟶ A + B {\displaystyle AB\longrightarrow A+B}

One example of a decomposition reaction is the electrolysis of water to make oxygen and hydrogen gas:

2 H 2 O ⟶ 2 H 2 + O 2 {\displaystyle 2H_{2}O\longrightarrow 2H_{2}+O_{2}}

Another example of a decomposition reaction is calcium carbonate breaking down into calcium oxide and carbon dioxide under high temperatures:

CaCO 3 - > CaO + CO 2


1.3. Four basic types Single replacement

In a single replacement reaction, a single uncombined element replaces another in a compound; in other words, one element trades places with another element in a compound These reactions come in the general form of:

A + B C ⟶ A C + B {\displaystyle A+BC\longrightarrow AC+B}

One example of a single displacement reaction is when magnesium replaces hydrogen in water to make magnesium hydroxide and hydrogen gas:

M g + 2 H 2 O ⟶ M g O H 2 + H 2 {\displaystyle Mg+2H_{2}O\longrightarrow MgOH_{2}+H_{2}}

1.4. Four basic types Double replacement

In a double replacement reaction, the anions and cations of two compounds switch places and form two entirely different compounds. These reactions are in the general form:

A B + C D ⟶ A D + C B {\displaystyle AB+CD\longrightarrow AD+CB}

For example, when barium chloride BaCl 2 and magnesium sulfate MgSO 4 react, the SO 4 2− anion switches places with the 2Cl − anion, giving the compounds BaSO 4 and MgCl 2.

Another example of a double displacement reaction is the reaction of leadII nitrate with potassium iodide to form leadII iodide and potassium nitrate:

P b N O 3 2 + 2 K I ⟶ P b I 2 + 2 K N O 3 {\displaystyle PbNO_{3}_{2}+2KI\longrightarrow PbI_{2}+2KNO_{3}}

2. Equations

A chemical reaction is being displayed by an equation:

A + B ⟶ C + D {\displaystyle \mathrm {A+B\longrightarrow C+D} } Here, A and B react to C and D in a chemical reaction. This is an example of a combustion reaction.

C + O 2 ⟶ C O 2 {\displaystyle \mathrm {C+O_{2}\longrightarrow CO_{2}} }

carbon + oxygen → carbon dioxide

3. Other websites

  • Rates of reaction Archived 2007-03-05 at the Wayback Machine
  • Online chemical equation balancer Balances equation of any chemical reaction full or half-cell in one click.