Combination Reaction: Definition & Examples

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  • 0:01 What is a Combination…
  • 1:10 About Chemical Equations
  • 2:53 Types & Examples
  • 4:01 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Nissa Garcia

Nissa has a masters degree in chemistry and has taught high school science and college level chemistry.

There many types of chemical reactions. In a combination reaction, you can predict the product if you know what goes into it. Find out more about combination reactions and see some examples.

What Is a Combination Reaction?

Putting furniture together, combining ingredients to make something delicious - these things can be fun activities, and we look forward to the results. Each individual component is not very exciting by itself. However, if we put together all these individual components, we can make something more complex and exciting.

In the same way, in chemical reactions, you can combine two or more reactants to form a new product. This reaction is classified as a combination reaction, which can also be referred to as a synthesis reaction. In general, a combination reaction looks like this:

The reactants, A and B, combine to form a new single product, AB, which is always a compound. An example of a combination reaction is when hydrogen and chlorine react to form hydrochloric acid:

The subscripts in the chemical reaction in this image refer to the states of matter. These states of matter can be classified as solid (s), liquid (l), gas (g) and an aqueous solution (aq). Aqueous is a substance that is dissolved in water.

About Chemical Equations

Constructing and balancing chemical reactions from words are essential skills in chemistry. Chemical equations can be written from words describing them, so we need to be familiar with translating words into symbols. For instance, we say carbon solid reacts with oxygen gas to form carbon dioxide gas. This can be written as:

We also need to make sure that the equation is balanced. So for the reaction between carbon and oxygen just mentioned, we look at the reactants side (left side of the arrow, red) and the products side (right side of the arrow, black) and make sure that the number of elements is equal on both sides.

Before we proceed, let us remember that elements are substances that are made of one atom in the periodic table. When we refer to single elements - for example, carbon and magnesium - we use the symbols from the periodic table. So, for example, carbon is C, potassium is K, and magnesium is Mg.

Compounds are substances made up of more than one element. For example, sodium chloride (NaCl) is a compound because it is made of Na and Cl. Hydrochloric acid (HCl) is a compound because it is made of two elements: H and Cl. The following are a few examples of elements and compounds: cobalt (Co) and carbon (C) are elements; sodium chloride (NaCl) and hydrochloric acid (HCl) are compounds.

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