Science, Tech, Math › Science Types of Chemical Reactions List of Common Reactions and Examples Share Flipboard Email Print ThoughtCo / Hilary Allison Science Chemistry Basics Chemical Laws Molecules Periodic Table Projects & Experiments Scientific Method Biochemistry Physical Chemistry Medical Chemistry Chemistry In Everyday Life Famous Chemists Activities for Kids Abbreviations & Acronyms Biology Physics Geology Astronomy Weather & Climate By Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D. Chemistry Expert Ph.D., Biomedical Sciences, University of Tennessee at Knoxville B.A., Physics and Mathematics, Hastings College Dr. Helmenstine holds a Ph.D. in biomedical sciences and is a science writer, educator, and consultant. She has taught science courses at the high school, college, and graduate levels. our editorial process Facebook Facebook Twitter Twitter Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D. Updated January 25, 2020 A chemical reaction is a process generally characterized by a chemical change in which the starting materials (reactants) are different from the products. Chemical reactions tend to involve the motion of electrons, leading to the formation and breaking of chemical bonds. There are several different types of chemical reactions and more than one way of classifying them. Here are some common reaction types: Oxidation-Reduction or Redox Reaction In a redox reaction, the oxidation numbers of atoms are changed. Redox reactions may involve the transfer of electrons between chemical species.The reaction that occurs when In which I2 is reduced to I- and S2O32- (thiosulfate anion) is oxidized to S4O62- provides an example of a redox reaction:2 S2O32−(aq) + I2(aq) → S4O62−(aq) + 2 I−(aq) Direct Combination or Synthesis Reaction In a synthesis reaction, two or more chemical species combine to form a more complex product.A + B → ABThe combination of iron and sulfur to form iron (II) sulfide is an example of a synthesis reaction:8 Fe + S8 → 8 FeS Chemical Decomposition or Analysis Reaction In a decomposition reaction, a compound is broken into smaller chemical species.AB → A + BThe electrolysis of water into oxygen and hydrogen gas is an example of a decomposition reaction:2 H2O → 2 H2 + O2 Single Displacement or Substitution Reaction A substitution or single displacement reaction is characterized by one element being displaced from a compound by another element.A + BC → AC + BAn example of a substitution reaction occurs when zinc combines with hydrochloric acid. The zinc replaces the hydrogen:Zn + 2 HCl → ZnCl2 + H2 Metathesis or Double Displacement Reaction In a double displacement or metathesis reaction two compounds exchange bonds or ions in order to form different compounds.AB + CD → AD + CBAn example of a double displacement reaction occurs between sodium chloride and silver nitrate to form sodium nitrate and silver chloride.NaCl(aq) + AgNO3(aq) → NaNO3(aq) + AgCl(s) Acid-Base Reaction An acid-base reaction is a type of double displacement reaction that occurs between an acid and a base. The H+ ion in the acid reacts with the OH- ion in the base to form water and an ionic salt:HA + BOH → H2O + BAThe reaction between hydrobromic acid (HBr) and sodium hydroxide is an example of an acid-base reaction:HBr + NaOH → NaBr + H2O Combustion A combustion reaction is a type of redox reaction in which a combustible material combines with an oxidizer to form oxidized products and generate heat (exothermic reaction). Usually, in a combustion reaction oxygen combines with another compound to form carbon dioxide and water. An example of a combustion reaction is the burning of naphthalene:C10H8 + 12 O2 → 10 CO2 + 4 H2O Isomerization In an isomerization reaction, the structural arrangement of a compound is changed but its net atomic composition remains the same. Hydrolysis Reaction A hydrolysis reaction involves water. The general form for a hydrolysis reaction is:X-(aq) + H2O(l) ↔ HX(aq) + OH-(aq) The Main Reaction Types There are hundreds or even thousands of types of chemical reactions! If you are asked to name the main 4, 5 or 6 types of chemical reactions, here is how they are categorized. The main four types of reactions are direct combination, analysis reaction, single displacement, and double displacement. If you're asked the five main types of reactions, it is these four and then either acid-base or redox (depending who you ask). Keep in mind, a specific chemical reaction may fall into more than one category.