Section: 9 - Malaya
Topic: Types of Chemical Reaction
A chemical reaction is a process that is usually characterized by a chemical change in which the starting materials (reactants) are different from the products. Chemical reactions tend to involve the motion of electrons, leading to the formation and breaking of chemical bonds. There are several different types of chemical reactions and more than one way of classifying them. Here are some common reaction types. However, if you are asked to name the main 4, 5 or 6 types of chemical reactions, here is how they are categorized.
Direct Combination or Synthesis Reaction
In a synthesis reaction two or more chemical species combine to form a more complex product.
A + B ? AB
The combination of iron and sulfur to form iron (II) sulfide is an example of a synthesis reaction:
8 Fe + S8 ? 8 FeS
Learn More About Synthesis Reactions
Chemical Decomposition or Analysis Reaction
In a decomposition reaction a compound is broken into smaller chemical species.
AB ? A + B
The electrolysis of water into oxygen and hydrogen gas is an example of a decomposition reaction:
2 H2O ? 2 H2 + O2
Single Displacement or Substitution Reaction
A substitution or single displacement reaction is characterized by one element being displaced from a compound by another element.
A + BC ? AC + B
An example of a substitution reaction occurs when zinc combines with hydrochloric acid. The zinc replaces the hydrogen:
Zn + 2 HCl ? ZnCl2 + H2
Metathesis or Double Displacement Reaction
In a double displacement or metathesis reaction two compounds exchange bonds or ions in order to form different compounds.
AB + CD ? AD + CB
An example of a double displacement reaction occurs between sodium chloride and silver nitrate to form sodium nitrate and silver chloride.
NaCl(aq) + AgNO3(aq) ? NaNO3(aq) + AgCl(s)
An acid-base reaction is type of double displacement reaction that occurs between an acid and a base. The