Common Chemical Reactions

In our daily life, we encounter a number of chemical reactions, although we may not always think of the chemistry hidden within those principles. The mere melting of an ice cube kept in a glass, boiling of water, burning of wood, smoke ejecting from vehicles – all are classic examples of common chemical reactions in our daily lives. In middle and high school chemistry, students are introduced to a large number of reactions. Students must understand that most of the chemical reactions follow a certain order. So instead of just memorizing individual reactions, it is better to understand the the way each group of reactions proceed to form desired products. That will make it easier for students to predict the products of a reaction in several other cases of chemical reactions.

Examples of Common Chemical Reactions in Chemistry

Every natural process is an example of a chemical reaction. A battery converts chemical energy into electrical energy, by following some specific reaction. Similarly, burning of a log of a wood, in the presence of oxygen is another reaction leading to products like carbon dioxide and heat energy. Some more common chemical reactions examples have been discussed further.

Synthesis or Combination Reaction

This is the simplest reaction that occurs in nature. When two or more chemical elements or compounds react to form some specific product(s), it is called synthesis. It is in of the form: A + B → AB

  • Metal (Barium) + Oxygen → Metal Oxide (Barium Oxide): Ba(s) + O2(g) → BaO(s)
  • Nonmetal (Carbon) + Oxygen → Nonmetallic Oxide (Carbon Dioxide): C(s) + O2(g ) → CO2(g)
  • Metal Oxide (Calcium Oxide) + Water → Metallic Hydroxide (Calcium Hydroxide): CaO(s) + H2O(l) → Ca(OH)2 (l)
  • Nonmetallic Oxide (Carbon Dioxide) + Water → Acid (Carbonic Acid): CO2(g) + H2O(l) → H2CO3 (l)
  • Metal (Calcium) + Nonmetal (Chlorine) → Salt (Calcium Chloride): 2Ca(s) + Cl (g) → CaCl2(s)
  • Nonmetal (Phosphorus) + Nonmetal (Chlorine) → Gaseous (Phosphorus Trichloride): 2P(s) + 3Cl2 → 2PCl3 (g)

Decomposition Reaction
In these reactions, a compound breaks into simpler ones. In general form, it is given by AB → A + B

Example: The electrolysis reaction of water in which oxygen and hydrogen are formed as products: 2H2O → 2H2 + O2

Single Displacement Reactions
In these types of chemical reactions, a more active element displaces or knocks out another less active element from a compound. These reactions are of the form, A + BC → AC + B

Example: Zn(s) + CuSO4 (aq) → ZnSO4 (aq) + Cu (s)

Double Displacement Reactions
When cations and anions of two different molecules are replaced and two entirely different products are formed, it is known as double displacement reaction. These reactions are of type, AB + XY → AY + XB

Example: Pb(NO3)2 + 2KI → PbI2 + 2KNO3

Acid Base Reaction
An acid and a base when combine, they form salt and water. This is a common reaction in chemistry. It is also called as neutralization reaction. Acid + Base → Salt + Water

Example: H2SO4 + NaOH → Na2SO4 + H2O

Some More Common Chemical Reactions

There are numerous other common chemical reactions that are an integral part of life and we get to know them in our study of Chemistry. They are as follows.

  • Metal + Nonmetal → Salt: 2K + Cl2 → 2KCl
  • Metal1 + Salt → Metal2 + Salt: Na + CuSO4 → Cu + Na2SO4
  • Aerobic Respiration: C6H12O6 + 6O2 → 6CO2+ 6H2O + Energy (36 ATPs)
  • Anaerobic Respiration: C6H12O6 → 2C6H5OH + 2CO2 + Energy
  • Photosynthesis: 6 CO2+ 6 H2O + Light energy → C6H12O6 + 6 O2
  • Rusting of Iron: Fe + O2 + H2O → Fe2O3. XH2O

The above list of common chemical reactions introduced you to numerous types of common chemical processes. Chemical reactions in everyday life are mostly observed in our homes. Going through  articles, chemical change examples and examples of chemical changes in everyday life can help you to know more about some chemical reactions that occur in daily life. Learning chemistry is fun and if you start making a note of common chemical reactions at home, you’ll be surprised to know that learning chemistry begins from our homes rather than classrooms!

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