Substitution Reaction Definition

What Is a Substitution Reaction in Chemistry?

Laboratory glassware
Witthaya Prasongsin / Getty Images

A substitution reaction is a type of chemical reaction where an atom or functional group of a molecule is replaced by another atom or functional group.

A substitution reaction is also called a single displacement reaction, single replacement reaction, or single substitution reaction.

Examples: CH3Cl reacted with a hydroxy ion (OH-) will produce CH3OH and chlorine. This substitution reaction replaces the chlorine atom on the original molecule with the hydroxy ion.

Sources

  • Imyanitov, Naum S. (1993). "Is This Reaction a Substitution, Oxidation-Reduction, or Transfer?". J. Chem. Educ. 70 (1): 14–16. doi:10.1021/ed070p14
  • March, Jerry (1985). Advanced Organic Chemistry: Reactions, Mechanisms, and Structure (3rd ed.). New York: Wiley. ISBN 0-471-85472-7.