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Combination Reactions

In combination reactions, two substances, either elements or compounds, react to produce a single compound. One type of combination reaction involves two elements. Most metals react with most nonmetals to form ionic compounds. The products can be predicted from the charges expected for cations of the metal and anions of the nonmetal. For example, the product of the reaction between aluminum and bromine can be predicted from the following charges: 3+ for aluminum ion and 1 for bromide ion. Since there is a change in the oxidation numbers of the elements, this type of reaction is an oxidationreduction reaction: 2Al ( s ) + 3Br 2 ( g ) 2AlBr 3 ( s ) Similarly, a nonmetal may react with a more reactive nonmetal to form a covalent compound. The composition of the product is predicted from the common oxidation numbers of the elements, positive for the less reactive and negative for the more reactive nonmetal (usually located closer to the upper right side of the Periodic Table). For example, sulfur reacts with oxygen gas to form gaseous sulfur dioxide: S 8 ( s ) + 8O 2 ( g ) 8SO 2 ( g ) A compound and an element may unite to form another compound if in the original compound, the element with a positive oxidation number has an accessible higher oxidation number. Carbon monoxide, formed by the burning of hydrocarbons under conditions of oxygen deficiency, reacts with oxygen to form carbon dioxide: 2CO ( g ) + O 2 ( g ) 2CO 2 ( g ) The oxidation number of carbon changes from +2 to +4 so this reaction is an oxidationreduction reaction. Two compounds may react to form a new compound. For example, calcium oxide (or lime) reacts with carbon dioxide to form calcium carbonate (limestone):

CaO ( s ) + CO 2 ( g ) CaCO 3 ( s )

Decomposition Reactions
When a compound undergoes a decomposition reaction, usually when heated, it breaks down into its component elements or simpler compounds. The products of a decomposition reaction are determined largely by the identity of the anion in the compound. The ammonium ion also has characteristic decomposition reactions. A few binary compounds decompose to their constituent elements upon heating. This is an oxidationreduction reaction since the elements undergo a change in oxidation number. For example, the oxides and halides of noble metals (primarily Au, Pt, and Hg) decompose when heated. When red solid mercury(II) oxide is heated, it decomposes to liquid metallic mercury and oxygen gas: 2HgO ( s ) 2Hg ( l ) + O 2 ( g ) Some nonmetal oxides, such as the halogen oxides, also decompose upon heating: 2Cl 2 O 5 ( g ) 2Cl 2 ( g ) + 5O 2 ( g ) Other nonmetal oxides, such as dinitrogen pentoxide, decompose to an element and a compound: 2N 2 O 5 ( g ) O 2 ( g ) + 4NO 2 ( g ) Many metal salts containing oxoanions decompose upon heating. These salts either give off oxygen gas, forming a metal salt with a different nonmetal anion, or they give off a nonmetal oxide, forming a metal oxide. For example, metal nitrates containing Group 1A or 2A metals or aluminum decompose to metal nitrites and oxygen gas: Mg(NO 3 ) 2 ( s ) Mg(NO 2 ) 2 ( s ) + O 2 ( g )

All other metal nitrates decompose to metal oxides, along with nitrogen dioxide and oxygen: 2Cu(NO 3 ) 2 ( s ) 2CuO ( s ) + 4NO 2 ( g ) + O 2 ( g ) Salts of the halogen oxoanions decompose to halides and oxygen upon heating: 2KBrO 3 ( s ) 2KBr ( s ) + 3O 2 ( g ) Carbonates, except for those of the alkali metals, decompose to oxides and carbon dioxide. CaCO 3 ( s ) CaO ( s ) + CO 2 ( g ) A number of compoundshydrates, hydroxides, and oxoacidsthat contain water or its components lose water when heated. Hydrates, compounds that contain water molecules, lose water to form anhydrous compounds, free of molecular water. CaSO 4 2H 2 O ( s ) CaSO 4 ( s ) + 2H 2 O ( g ) Metal hydroxides are converted to metal oxides by heating: 2Fe(OH) 3 ( s ) Fe 2 O 3 ( s ) + 3H 2 O ( g ) Most oxoacids lose water until no hydrogen remains, leaving a nonmetal oxide: H 2 SO 4 ( l ) H 2 O ( g ) + SO 3 ( g ) Oxoanion salts that contain hydrogen ions break down into the corresponding oxoanion salts and oxoacids: Ca(HSO 4 ) 2 ( s ) CaSO 4 ( s ) + H 2 SO 4 ( l ) Finally, some ammonium salts undergo an oxidationreduction reaction when heated. Common salts of this type are ammonium dichromate, ammonium

permanganate, ammonium nitrate, and ammonium nitrite. When these salts decompose, they give off nitrogen gas and water. (NH 4 ) 2 Cr 2 O 7 ( s ) Cr 2 O 3 ( s ) + 4H 2 O ( g ) + N 2 ( g ) 2NH 4 NO 3 ( s ) 2N 2 ( g ) + 4H 2 O ( g ) + O 2 ( g ) Ammonium salts, which do not contain an oxidizing agent, lose ammonia gas upon heating: (NH 4 ) 2 SO 4 ( s ) 2NH 3 ( g ) + H 2 SO 4 ( l )

Single-Displacement Reactions
In a single-displacement reaction, a free element displaces another element from a compound to produce a different compound and a different free element. A more active element displaces a less active element from its compounds. These are all oxidationreduction reactions. An example is the thermite reaction between aluminum and iron(III) oxide: 2Al ( s ) + Fe 2 O 3 ( s ) Al 2 O 3 ( s ) + 2Fe ( l ) The element displaced from the compound is always the more metallic element the one nearer the bottom left of the Periodic Table. The displaced element need not always be a metal, however. Consider a common type of single-displacement reaction, the displacement of hydrogen from water or from acids by metals. The very active metals react with water. For example, calcium reacts with water to form calcium hydroxide and hydrogen gas. Calcium metal has an oxidation number of 0, whereas Ca 2+ in Ca(OH) 2 has an oxidation number of +2, so calcium is oxidized. Hydrogen's oxidation number changes from +1 to 0, so it is reduced. Ca ( s ) + 2H 2 O ( l ) Ca(OH) 2 ( aq ) + H 2 ( g )

Some metals, such as magnesium, do not react with cold water, but react slowly with steam: Mg ( s ) + 2H 2 O ( g ) Mg(OH) 2 ( aq ) + H 2 ( g ) Still less active metals, such as iron, do not react with water at all, but react with acids. Fe ( s ) + 2HCl ( aq ) FeCl 2 ( aq ) + H 2 ( g ) Metals that are even less active, such as copper, generally do not react with acids. To determine which metals react with water or with acids, we can use an activity series (see Figure 1), a list of metals in order of decreasing activity. Elements at the top of the series react with cold water. Elements above hydrogen in the series react with acids; elements below hydrogen do not react to release hydrogen gas. The displacement of hydrogen from water or acids is just one type of singledisplacement reaction. Other elements can also be displaced from their compounds. For example, copper metal reduces aqueous solutions of ionic silver compounds, such as silver nitrate, to deposit silver metal. The copper is oxidized. Cu ( s ) + 2AgNO 3 ( aq ) Cu(NO 3 ) 2 ( aq ) + 2Ag ( s ) The activity series can be used to predict which single-displacement reactions will take place. The elemental metal produced is always lower in the activity series than the displacing element. Thus, iron could be displaced from FeCl 2 by zinc metal but not by tin.

Figure 1. Activity series. ACTIVITY SERIES Li K Ba Ca Na Mg Al Zn These metals will displace hydrogen gas from acids Fe Cd Ni Sn Pb H Cu Hg These metals will not displace hydrogen gas from water or acids Ag Au These metals will displace hydrogen gas from water

Double-Displacement Reactions

Aqueous barium chloride reacts with sulfuric acid to form solid barium sulfate and hydrochloric acid: BaCl 2 ( aq ) + H 2 SO 4 ( aq ) BaSO 4 ( s ) + 2HCl ( aq ) Sodium sulfide reacts with hydrochloric acid to form sodium chloride and hydrogen sulfide gas: Na 2 S ( aq ) + 2HCl ( aq ) 2NaCl ( aq ) + H 2 S ( g ) Potassium hydroxide reacts with nitric acid to form water and potassium nitrate: KOH ( aq ) + HNO 3 ( aq ) H 2 O ( l ) + KNO 3 ( aq ) These double-displacement reactions have two major features in common. First, two compounds exchange ions or elements to form new compounds. Second, one of the products is either a compound that will separate from the reaction mixture in some way (commonly as a solid or gas) or a stable covalent compound, often water. Double-displacement reactions can be further classified as precipitation, gas formation, and acidbase neutralization reactions.

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