Ch.4 - Chemical Quantities & Aqueous ReactionsWorksheetSee all chapters
All Chapters
Ch.1 - Intro to General Chemistry
Ch.2 - Atoms & Elements
Ch.3 - Chemical Reactions
BONUS: Lab Techniques and Procedures
BONUS: Mathematical Operations and Functions
Ch.4 - Chemical Quantities & Aqueous Reactions
Ch.5 - Gases
Ch.6 - Thermochemistry
Ch.7 - Quantum Mechanics
Ch.8 - Periodic Properties of the Elements
Ch.9 - Bonding & Molecular Structure
Ch.10 - Molecular Shapes & Valence Bond Theory
Ch.11 - Liquids, Solids & Intermolecular Forces
Ch.12 - Solutions
Ch.13 - Chemical Kinetics
Ch.14 - Chemical Equilibrium
Ch.15 - Acid and Base Equilibrium
Ch.16 - Aqueous Equilibrium
Ch. 17 - Chemical Thermodynamics
Ch.18 - Electrochemistry
Ch.19 - Nuclear Chemistry
Ch.20 - Organic Chemistry
Ch.22 - Chemistry of the Nonmetals
Ch.23 - Transition Metals and Coordination Compounds
Jules Bruno

Types of chemical reactions

When we start to cover other topics such as stoichiometry, molarity, solution chemistry as well as mass conversions, it’s going to become important that you are able to recognize the different types of chemical reactions that exist. Here we’ve compiled a list of the most popular and common types of chemical reactions that you should know at this point. 

  • Metathesis 

  • Acid-Base

  • Hydrogen Displacement

  • Combustion

  • Disproportionation

  • Combination

  • Decomposition

Metathesis chemical reactions

We’re starting out with Metathesis. Metathesis is the formal name of a double displacement or replacement reaction. In these types of reactions, we’re gonna say that our ions basically switch partners. Here, our barium ion now connects with the sulfate ion and then our sodium ion here, connects with our nitrate ion. 

Remember, to get this, we would have to break them up into their ions and then opposites attract. So barium and nitrate, break up into these ions and then sodium and sulfate ion break up into these ions. Opposites would attract. This positive would be attracted to this negative which is how we got barium sulfate. And this negative and this positive were attracted together to give us sodium nitrate as a product.

Acid base chemical reactions

Moving on from that, we have acid-base reactions. When following the traditional definition, this type of reaction produces an ionic salt and water. An ionic salt just means an ionic compound. Here we have nitric acid, which is a common type of strong acid. Then we have lithium hydroxide which is a common type of strong base. If you’re not familiar with the names, make sure you take a look at my sections that go over naming of ionic compounds as well as acids. These combine together to give me lithium nitrate which is our ionic salt and water itself. Dead giveaway here is our acid tends to just be a covalent compound beginning with hydrogen. Our base, the most common types are a metal connected to OH to produce an ionic compound in water.

Hydrogen displacement chemical reactions

Next we have hydrogen displacement. Basically, a metal reacts with HX. X here could be Cl, Br or I. Remember, these are Group7A elements and they produce a metal halide and hydrogen gas. To be able to do this correctly, you’d have to use an activity series chart. Also, if you’re not familiar with this, make sure to take a look at our videos dealing with activity series. In the process, the magnesium metal would displace the hydrogen here and connect with a chlorine to give us MgCl2. Hydrogen can exist by itself. It exists as H2 in the environment. 

Combustion chemical reactions

Next we have combustion. In combustion, we’re going to say the traditional definition is just oxygen gas reacting with a compound that is made up of just carbon and hydrogen or carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. This is important. You’re gonna produce CO2 and water. Here we have a common type of compound called methanol reacting with oxygen gas to produce CO2 and water which is a dead giveaway for this as combustion. The water itself can be either in a liquid phase or the gaseous phase. We’d have to read the type of question they give to us to make sure which one we have. 

Disproportionation chemical reactions

Next we have disproportionation reactions. Disproportionation is when a reactant produces two products - one which is reduced and one which is oxidized.  

Combination and decomposition chemical reactions

In a combination reaction you have more than one reactant combined to give one type of product and that’s the opposite of decomposition where you have exactly one type of reactant breaking up into multiple types of products.

Summary

It’s important to know these different types of chemical reactions and look for the key terms that we placed in bold or highlighted in some way within these examples.


Jules Bruno

Jules felt a void in his life after his English degree from Duke, so he started tutoring in 2007 and got a B.S. in Chemistry from FIU. He’s exceptionally skilled at making concepts dead simple and helping students in covalent bonds of knowledge.