Chemical reactions are processes in which the reacting substances undergo a chemical transformation to yield one or more products. Generally, these reactions involve the formation and breakage of chemical bonds between the participating atoms. However, some chemical reactions involve transformations in the nuclei of the participating atoms. These reactions are called nuclear reactions. Some important types of chemical reactions are described in this article.

The Four Basic Types of Chemical Reactions

Synthesis Reaction

In these reactions, two or more simple reactants combine to form a single, complex product. Many name reactions in organic chemistry are synthesis reactions. Examples include Boord olefin synthesis and Gabriel phthalimide synthesis.

Decomposition Reaction

A decomposition reaction can be considered as the opposite of a synthesis reaction. In these reactions, one complex reactant is broken down into multiple simpler molecules. An example of such a reaction is the decomposition of calcium carbonate (CaCO3), which yields calcium oxide (CaO) and carbon dioxide (CO2).

Single Displacement Reaction

In these reactions, an uncombined element replaces another element in a chemical compound. The general form of a single displacement reaction can be written as follows.

A + BC → AC + B

An example of such a reaction is the reaction between metallic copper and silver nitrate. In this reaction, the copper atom replaces the silver atom in the nitrate compound, yielding copper (II) nitrate and metallic silver.

Double Displacement Reaction

The reactants in these reactions are generally ionic compounds. The cations and anions belonging to these compounds switch places, giving rise to two new compounds. The general form of a double displacement reaction is provided below.

AB + CD → AD + BC

An example of a double displacement reaction is the reaction between barium chloride and magnesium sulfate which yields barium sulfate and magnesium chloride.


The rates of these chemical reactions rely on several factors such as the concentration of the reactants, the order of reaction, and the temperature and pressure of the surroundings. To learn more about chemical reactions, subscribe to the BYJU’S YouTube channel and enable notifications.