Chemical reaction

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Rusting iron
A bonfire is an example for redox

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

Some reactions are very fast, and others are very 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. Other reactions such as Nuclear Reactions differ in the way that Nuclear Reaction does not need a catalyst. They also cannot be stopped, sped up or slowed down.

Some reactions give out energy. These are called exothermic. In other reactions, energy is taken in. These are called endothermic.

Four basic types[change | change source]

The four basic chemical reactions types: synthesis, decomposition, single replacement and double replacement

Synthesis[change | change source]

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

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 iron(II) sulfide:

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]

Decomposition[change | change source]

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:[1][2]

AB \longrightarrow A + B

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

2H_2O \longrightarrow 2H_2 + O_2

Single replacement[change | change source]

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[1] These reactions come in the general form of:

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:

Mg + 2H_2O \longrightarrow Mg(OH)_2 + H_2

Double replacement[change | change source]

In a double replacement reaction, the anions and cations of two compounds switch places and form two entirely different compounds.[1] These reactions are in the general form:[2]

AB + CD \longrightarrow AD + CB

For example, when barium chloride (BaCl2) and magnesium sulfate (MgSO4) react, the SO42− anion switches places with the 2Cl anion, giving the compounds BaSO4 and MgCl2.

Another example of a double displacement reaction is the reaction of lead(II) nitrate with potassium iodide to form lead(II) iodide and potassium nitrate:

Pb(NO_3)_2 + 2 KI \longrightarrow PbI_2 + 2 KNO_3

Equations[change | change source]

A chemical reaction is being displayed by an equation:

\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.

\mathrm{C + O_2 \longrightarrow CO_2}

carbon + oxygencarbon dioxide

Related pages[change | change source]

Other websites[change | change source]

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 To react or not to react? Utah State Office of Education. Retrieved 4 June 2011
  2. 2.0 2.1 Six types of chemical reactions – MrGuch ChemFiesta.