What is a Synthesis Reaction?

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Did you eat a synthesis reaction for breakfast? It's highly likely if you consumed taurine, which is the result of an organic synthesis reaction and commonly found in milk and eggs. In chemistry, a synthesis reaction is when two or more chemicals combine and form a more complex product. You will also have more reactants than products since two or more chemical species combine to form one new larger compound.

What Happens in a Synthesis Reaction?

In a synthesis reaction, two or more chemical species combine, forming a more complex product in the reaction. It is also called a direct reaction and is one of the most common chemical reactions. When the two or more reactants combine they make a larger compound. A synthesis reaction is the opposite of a decomposition reaction, which is when the bonds are broken in a complex product, and it splits the product into its respective components or elements.

What Is the General Form of a Synthesis Reaction?

The word synthesis means to put together. When two or more products are put together it produces a new single product. The basic form of the chemical equation is written as:

A + B → AB

What are Some Synthesis Reaction Examples?

Some synthesis reactions occur when burning various metals by adding oxygen to them. Here are some examples:

Magnesium + oxygen → magnesium oxide

Alternatively, in the chemical equation:

2Mg + O2 → 2MgO

This synthesis reaction gives off a very bright light, so if you perform it, wear safety goggles and don't look directly at the light, or you can harm your eyes.

Aluminum + bromine → aluminum bromide

Or in the chemical equation:

2Al + 3Br2 → 2AlBr3

What Is a Synthesis Reaction in Organic Chemistry?

Organic synthesis reactions involve organic compounds. Organic molecules are more complex than their inorganic counterparts are. In many cases, because of the complexity, synthesis reactions of organic compounds require several steps one after the other to create a single product. This makes intermediate compounds for each step before the final single product.

For example, when water combines with ethyl leads it forms ethanol or:

CH2 = CH2 + HCl → CH3 -CH2Cl

Other Considerations of a Synthesis Reaction

A synthesis reaction can occur when combining elements and producing a new compound, combining compounds to produce a new compound, or combining both elements and compounds to result in a new compound.

When a metal and non-metal are combined, they produce an ionic compound.

When two non-metals combine, they produce a covalent compound.

When combining metal oxide and water (both compounds), it produces a new compound of a metal hydroxide.

Non-metal and water combinations result in an oxy acid compound.

Metal oxides and carbon dioxide combined produce metal carbonates.

The combination of an element and a compound to produce a new compound can be seen in carbon dioxide. This is the product of carbon monoxide and oxygen, written in a chemical equation as:

2CO (g) + O2 (g) → 2CO2 (g)