Any chemical process in which substances are changed into different ones, with different properties, as distinct from changing position or form (phase). Chemical reactions involve the rupture or rearrangement of the bonds holding atoms together (see bonding), never atomic nuclei. The total mass and number of atoms of all reactants equals those of all products, and energy is almost always consumed or liberated (see heat of reaction). The speed of reactions varies (see reaction rate). Understanding their mechanisms lets chemists alter reaction conditions to optimize the rate or the amount of a given product; the reversibility of the reaction and the presence of competing reactions and intermediate products complicate these studies. Reactions can be syntheses, decompositions, or rearrangements, or they can be additions, eliminations, or substitutions. Examples include oxidation-reduction, polymerization, ionization (see ion), combustion (burning), hydrolysis, and acid-base reactions.
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A chemical reaction is a process that always results in the interconversion of chemical substances. The substance or substances initially involved in a chemical reaction are called reactants. Chemical reactions are usually characterized by a chemical change, and they yield one or more products, which are in general different from the reactants. Classically, chemical reactions encompass changes that strictly involve the motion of electrons in the forming and breaking of chemical bonds, although the general concept of a chemical reaction, in particular the notion of a chemical equation, is applicable to transformations of elementary particles, as well as nuclear reactions.
Different chemical reactions are used in combinations in chemical synthesis in order to get a desired product. In biochemistry, series of chemical reactions catalyzed by enzymes form metabolic pathways, by which syntheses and decompositions ordinarily impossible in conditions within a cell are performed.
Organic reactions encompass a wide assortment of reactions involving compounds which have carbon as the main element in their molecular structure. The reactions in which an organic compound may take part are largely defined by its functional groups. Defined in opposition to inorganic reactions. Reactions can also be classified according to their mechanism, some typical examples being:
The rate of a chemical reaction is a measure of how the concentration or pressure of the involved substances changes with time. Analysis of reaction rates is important for several applications, such as in chemical engineering or in chemical equilibrium study. Rates of reaction depends basically on:
Reaction rates are related to the concentrations of substances involved in reactions, as quantified by the rate law of each reaction. Note that some reactions have rates that are independent of reactant concentrations. These are called zero order reactions.