Study Guide

Chemical Reactions Terms

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Chemical Reactions Terms


Water, made up of water

Balanced Equations

A description of a chemical reaction that gives the chemical formulas of the reactants and the products of the reaction. Coefficients indicate the number of each molecule present in the reaction. These coefficients can be changed so as not to violate the Law of Conservation of Mass.


A number or a constant multiplied by a term in an algebraic expression. Coefficients always go first. Or is that "ladies"…?

Combustion Reaction

A chemical reaction between a fuel and oxygen that produces heat and light as well as carbon dioxide and water.


A reaction in which a compound is broken down into simpler compounds or elements.

Double Replacement

Also known as a metathesis reaction. A reaction in which two reactants trade partners. Here's an example: AB + CD → AC + BD.


The process of driving an electrical current through a reaction mixture.


A process that absorbs heat.


Exothermic is the term used to describe a reaction that releases heat.

Law of Conservation of Mass

A scientific principle that states that matter cannot be created nor destroyed.

Physical Change (or Physical Reaction)

A change that does not transform one substance into another substance, such as freezing or melting. That is to say, no new types of molecules are formed during a physical change.


Cause something to happen prematurely

Fling something down



A molecule that is produced in a chemical reaction. Products are generated by reactants.


The chemicals that are present before a chemical reaction takes place. They react together to produce new chemical compounds. In a chemical equation, reactants are listed on the left hand side of the arrow.

Single Replacement

A reaction in which one component of a compound is replaced by a new component. Here's an example: AB + C → A + BC.

Skeleton Equation

An equation that identifies the reactants and products but the equation is not necessarily balanced.


The set proportions in which elements or compounds react with one another.

Synthesis Reaction

The formation of a complex product from simpler reactants. Here's an example: A + B → AB.

Thermal Decomposition Reaction

A decomposition reaction initiated by heat.

Word Equation

An equation in pure word form with no elemental symbols or numbers.

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