TYPES OF CHEMICAL REACTIONS
As you know from your earlier studies, a chemical reaction involves breaking of old chemical bonds and formation of new chemical bonds. This change may happen spontaneously or it may be facilitated by external forces or energy. Chemistry is all about chemical reactions. In your day to day life, you could observe many chemical reactions. A clear understanding of these reactions is essential in order to manipulate them for the sake of human life and environment. So, chemistry mainly focuses on chemical reactions. Let us try to find the answer for the following questions:
· You need energy to play, walk, run or to perform various physical activities. Where do you get the energy from?
· How do plants grow and get their food? How does a car move using fuel?
· Why does iron rust on its exposure to water or air?
You get energy from the digestion of the food you eat. Plants grow by absorbing nutrients from the Earth and get their food by photosynthesis. The combustion of a fuel makes the car to move. Oxidation of iron causes rusting. So, all these processes are chemical changes i.e. the materials, which undergo changes are converted into some other new materials. For example, by burning petrol, the hydrocarbons present in it are converted into carbon dioxide and water. In this chapter, let us discuss the nature and types of chemical reactions.
· In a chemical reaction, the atoms of the reacting molecules or elements are rearranged to form new molecules.
· Old chemical bonds between atoms are broken and new chemical bonds are formed.
· Bond breaking absorbs energy whereas bond formation releases energy
When methane reacts with oxygen, it forms carbon dioxide and water. How can you represent this reaction? It can be written as a word equation as shown below:
Methane + Oxygen → Carbon dioxide + Water
But, this equation does not give the chemical composition of the reactants and products. So, to learn the characteristics of a chemical reaction, it is represented by a chemical equation. In the chemical equation, the chemicals of the reaction are represented by their chemical formulas.The compounds or elements, which undergo reactions (reactants) are shown to the left of an arrow and the compounds formed (products) are shown to the right of the arrow. The arrow indicates the direction of the reaction. Thus, the aforesaid reaction can be written as follows:
CH4 + O2 → CO2 + H2O
But, this is also an incomplete chemical equation. Because, the law of conservation of matter states that matter cannot be created or destroyed. You cannot create new atoms by a chemical reaction. In contrast, they are rearranged in different ways by a chemical reaction to form a new compound. So, in a chemical equation, the number of atoms of the reactants and that of the products must be equal. The number of hydrogen and oxygen atoms in the reactants and the products are not equal in the given equation. On balancing the number of atoms, the following equation can be obtained:
CH4 + 2O2 → CO2 + 2H2O
Further, the chemical equation provides information on the physical state of the substances and the conditions under which the reaction takes place.
CH4(g) + 2O2(g) → CO2(g) + 2H2O(g)
Methane Oxygen Carbon dioxide Water
A balanced chemical equation is the simplified representation of a chemical reaction which describes the chemical composition, physical state of the reactants and the products, and the reaction conditions.