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Decomposition Reactions

The first reaction we worked with in this lesson was the decomposition of water to form hydrogen and oxygen. Look at this equation and note what happens to the elements involved in this reaction:

H2O rtarrow.gif (850 bytes) H2 + O2

Water is a compound containing the elements hydrogen and oxygen bonded together in a way that we will study soon. In this reaction those elements are taken apart from one another. When you look at the chemical formulas in an equation and see that a compound is being taken apart, you are looking at a decomposition reaction.

The products of a decomposition reaction are not necessarily going to be elements. This equation shows the decomposition of sugar (C6H12O6) into carbon and water.

C6H12O6 rtarrow.gif (850 bytes) C + H2O

Still, this compound is being taken apart and this is a decomposition reaction.

By the way, neither of these equations is balanced so you should take a moment to balance them.

 

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E-mail instructor: Eden Francis

Clackamas Community College
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