The 11 types of chemical reactions

The different substances present in nature interact with each other constantly. Things as common as lighting a lamp, dissolving a medicine in water, or even our breathing obey what are called chemical reactions.

In this article, we will look at some of the more common types of chemical reactions, as well as an explanation of their mechanics and the effects that these interactions between molecules produce.

Chemical reaction: explain the concept

By chemical reaction we mean all that interaction between substances in which chemical bonds are generated or broken, generating new compounds. The initial compounds are the so-called reactants, while the result of the reaction is the products.

These reactions can be in some cases reversible, being able to return the reagents to their previous state, but in other cases, these are consumed being this irreversible reaction. As the reaction proceeds, there is a point where equilibrium between the reactant and the product occurs and the reaction ceases.

In any case, atoms are not created or destroyed but only transformed, as is the case with the conservation of energy. Chemical reactions are an example of how they can transform and move from one molecule to another.

Main types of chemical reaction

There are a large number of possible ways of interaction between compounds, having different characteristics and peculiarities. Some of the main types of chemical reactions between compounds are as follows.

1. Synthesis or addition reactions

In this type of chemical reaction, two or more substances are combined to form a single compound. The combination of metal and oxygen to form oxides is an example of this, as it gives rise to relatively stable molecules which in some cases can be used to make materials common in our daily life.

2. Decomposition reactions

Decomposition reactions are those in which a particular compound breaks down and divides in two or more substances. This is what happens, for example, when electrolysis occurs in water, separating water into hydrogen and oxygen.

3. Reactions of displacement, substitution or exchange

One of the types of chemical reaction in which an element of one compound changes to another due to its interaction. In this case, the transferred element is attracted to the other component, which must have more resistance than the initial compound.

4. Ionic reactions

It is a type of chemical reaction that occurs when exposed to ionic compounds in a solvent. The soluble compound dissolves and dissociates into ions.

5. Double substitution reactions

It is a reaction similar to that of substitution, With the exception that in this case one of the elements which form one of the compounds passes the other at the same time as this second compound passes to the first of its own components. It is necessary for the reaction to occur that at least one of the compounds does not dissolve.

6. Reduction or redox reactions

It is called as such this type of chemical reaction in which there is an exchange of electrons. In oxidation reactions, one compound loses electrons to the other, which oxidizes. The other compound would shrink as its number of electrons increased.

These types of reactions occur both in nature and artificially. For example, it is the type of reaction that forces us to breathe (acquire oxygen in the medium) or for plants to photosynthesize.

7. Combustion reactions

An extremely fast and forceful type of oxidation, in which an organic substance reacts with oxygen. This reaction generates energy (usually heat and light) and can generate flames and usually results in a product in the form of a gas. A typical example is the burning of a hydrocarbon or glucose consumption.

8. Neutralization reactions

This type of chemical reaction occurs when a basic substance and another acid they interact in such a way that they are neutralized to form a neutral compound and water.

9. Nuclear reactions

It is called as such all this chemical reaction in which a modification is caused not of the electrons of the atoms, but of their nucleus. This combination or fragmentation will result in a high energy level. The combination of atoms is called fusion, while its fragmentation is called fission.

10. Exothermic reactions

This is called the endothermic reaction a all this chemical reaction that causes the emission of energy. In general, these energetic emotions occur at least in the form of heat, although in cases where explosions do occur, kinetic energy also arises.

11. Endothermic reactions

Endothermic reactions are all those types of chemical reactions in which the interaction between the elements absorbs the energy of the environment, Being the end product much more energetic than the reagents.

Do chemical reactions explain the world?

A reductionist view of reality might lead us to think that almost everything that happens in the world can be understood as chemical reactions. For example, the idea that human consciousness is in fact the result of biochemical reactions in the brain is popular.

This way of thinking based on the interplay between subatomic elements, atoms and molecules (and their corresponding types of chemical reactions) is intuitive and easy to conceive, as starting from a series of elements which are relatively simple and identical in all. parts of the cosmos, it aims to explain the complexity of phenomena that occur on a larger scale and that they are linked to unique and irreplaceable contexts. We suppose that in order to understand the complex, one has to start with what is not so much and without which the rest of nature (including here humans) would not exist.

However, we must not forget that nature is too complex to study only through this scientific intrigue, in the same way that it would be insufficient to study it exclusively from physics. We must also pay attention to the phenomena that occur at the macro level, to achieve a degree of comprehensive understanding of what is happening around us and in our own body.

Bibliographical references:

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