Structural Biochemistry/Reaction types

Types of chemical reactions


In a synthesis reaction, two or more reactants combine to form one complex product. The general equation to represent this reaction is: A + B→AB


The decomposition reaction is the opposite of the synthesis reaction. A complex compound breaks down into simpler substances. The general equation to represent this reaction is: AB→ A + B


Dissociation looks like and can be mistaken for decomposition but they are very different reactions. When a compound dissociates, it breaks down into ions instead of atoms. The products are therefore charged. The general equation looks like: AB→ A+ + B-

Single ReplacementEdit

A non-combined element replaces another in a compound and the element that it replaces has to be of the same group (e.g.metal replaces metal). The general equation: A + BC→ AC + B

Double ReplacementEdit

In a double replacement, two compounds each trade one element of the same type over to the other. The general equation: AB + CD→ AC + BD


In a combustion reaction, a compound is combined with oxygen to produce carbon dioxide and water as products. Example: CnHx + O2→CO2 + H2O


The acid base reaction is a type of double replacement reaction. When the acid and base react, the H+ ion reacts with the OH- ion to form H2O (water). The products of this reaction are typically water and an ionic salt. HA + BOH→ H2O + BA


1. "Types of Reactions." ThinkQuest. Oracle Foundation, n.d. Web. 20 Nov. 2012. <>.

2. "TheSix Types of Chemical Reaction." The Six Types of Chemical Reaction. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Nov. 2012. <>.