What is a synthesis reaction? How are they used in the real world?

1 Answer
Jan 26, 2017


A synthesis reaction is one in which a single product is made from two or more reactants.

It follows the pattern #A+B rarr C#


There are many practical processes that are synthesis reactions.

Here are a couple: #N_2+3H_2 rarr 2 NH_3#

The Haber process was a Nobel-prize winning advance which demonstrated how to fix atmospheric nitrogen (which is a remarkably stable, unreactive element) into ammonia, which could then be used as a synthetic fertilizer (the first to be produced), but was also a raw material in the manufacture of nitrate compounds that are essential to manufacture of explosives. The Haber process was one of a great many important advances that came about during time of war, to support the war effort - in this case, World War I.

A second example: #CaO + CO_2 rarr CaCO_3#

Lime (calcium oxide, #CaO#) is mixed into mortar for masonry, to hold bricks together in a structure. Over a period of days, the lime absorbs carbon dioxide from the air, and a reaction occurs in which the two compounds synthesize into calcium carbonate, #CaCO_3#, a much harder material that greatly enhances the strength of the structure.

So, there are important applications of synthesis reactions!