Real life examples of single replacement reactions include the exterior of the Statue of Liberty and processes in the steel industry. The reaction takes place between different metals or halogens.
A single replacement reaction occurs when an element reacts with a compound, displacing another element in that compound, according to the University of Memphis. The reaction takes place when different types of metals or halogens come into contact with one another, such as zinc dissolving in an acidic solution. In this single replacement reaction, zinc displaces hydrogen from the compound to result in salts and hydrogen gas.
Statue of Liberty
The Statue of Liberty has an inner iron support and a copper exterior. In time, the statue acquired a verdigris coating, which is the blue-green patina that forms on copper due to atmospheric oxidation. A single replacement reaction that occurs between the verdigris and the iron support transforms the exterior of the statue back to copper. However, the interior iron support oxidizes and becomes rusted.
Steel is an alloy of iron with carbon. Some manufacturers take the inorganic compound ferric oxide, also known as iron oxide, and cause a single displacement reaction with a type of coal called coke. The coke displaces the iron from the ferric oxide.