Types of reactions


There are different types of reactions carried out in the laboratory and in industrial production of products for the utilization of man.in the industry, it is carried out in reactors where heat is applied, here the breaking and rearranging of bonds takes place to produce new compounds. The following reactions includes thus:

  • Homogeneous reaction: this is type of reaction that occurs in a single phase (either in solids, liquids and gases).
  • Heterogeneous phase: this is reaction form that takes place in more than one phase. Example is a reaction between a solid and a liquid to produce a desire product.
  • Double decomposition: this type of reaction occurs when two soluble substances or compounds react to give one solid as a product. Example of this, where silver chloride is the solid part of the product.

Nacl +AgNo3                                                   AgCl(s) +NaNo3

  • Neutralization reaction: this is where an acid reacts with a base to produce acid and water as major product. In some case, there is evolution of gas such as when you use sodium hydrogen bicarbonate to react with a base, the gas evolved is carbon (iv) oxide. Example is

HNo3 + NaOH                           NaNo3(L) + H2O

  • Decomposition reaction: this is when a single solid compound is subjected to thermal process to give other compounds. Example is the decomposition of calcium carbonate to give calcium oxide and carbon(iv)oxide. this reaction could also take place in a closed vessel.

CaCO3(s)                           CaO(s) +CO2(g)

  • Substitution reaction: this when an active metal or element displaces a lower element in a compound. This has to do with the position of the elements in the eletrochemical series. Example is reaction between zinc metal and tetraoxosulphate(vi) acid, where hydrogen is displaced by zinc metal.

Zn(S) + H2SO4(L)                       Znso4(L) +H2(G)

  • Oxidation and Reduction reaction: this type of reaction is called REDOX reaction; it involves the loss or gain of electron and a reduction in oxidation number of compounds and elements.
  • Complexation reaction: this is a reaction in which there is a complex ligand as a product. Example of this reaction  is shown below

Fe2+ + EDTA4-                                                      [FeEDTA]2-

EDTA can be used as preservative in food to prevent catalytic oxidative coloration

  • Consecutive or series reaction: in this type of reaction, the product of one reaction becomes the reactant of the subsequent reaction, series of reaction steps may be employed giving rise to a very complex analytical solution of the resulting rate equation. Consecutive reaction is very important in polymerization and de-polymerization processes.

A +B                      C+D                         E

  • Catalytic and non catalytic reaction: this reaction involves the use of a catalyst to fasten or lower the rate of the reaction by using the catalyst to lower the activation energy of the reaction. The example of a catalytic reaction is the Haber process where Nickel is used as catalyst and vanadium(v)oxide used in contact process while a non catalytic reaction is the reaction where catalyst is not involved.
  • Parallel or side reaction: this type of reaction involves where two or more reactions takes place at once, here the reaction is parallel with respect to B

A   + B                 C

C  + B                D


In this reaction, a given reactant can react or decomposed in more than one way, example is the reaction is Ethanol being dehydrated to give Ethene or dehydrogenated to give Ethanal and Hydrogen gas.

  • Explosive reaction: this reaction occurs as a result of increase in pressure beyond the pressure limit of the reaction that show upper and lower limit characteristics. It can also occur as a result of evolution of heat that could not escape from the reaction vessel.
  • Enzyme reaction; this reaction is brought about by the activity of an organic catalyst called enzymes. These enzymes are proteins and they are specific in their catalytic reaction. They are effective for a given substrate. Enzymes can be hydrolytic and oxidation-reduction enzymes.



octave levenspiel, chemical engineering reaction. third edition, John wiley &sons (Asia) Pte ltd, singapore

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