In a chemical equation, which comes first the products or the reactants?How can you remember it?  Use Rest In Peace RIP.... Answer: Reactants

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krishna-agrawala's profile pic

krishna-agrawala | College Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

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As per the convention followed in writing in English language and most other languages in the world, the chemical formulas in these languages are also written from left to right. Thus what comes first, that is the reactants, is written first on the left followed by an arrow pointing to right to indicate the reaction. Then what is the end result, that is the products of the reaction are written on the right hand side of the arrow. For example a chemical reaction involving oxygen (O2) and Hydrogen (H2) combining to from water (H2O) will be written as:

2H2 + O2 --> H2O

I am not familiar with the Rest in Peace (RIP) terminology, but perhaps it is an acronym or abbreviation for the terms reactants, interaction and products.

Yojana_Thapa's profile pic

Yojana_Thapa | Student, Grade 10 | (Level 1) Valedictorian

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Their is an easier way to remember it. Remember that Reactants are always on the left side!

revolution's profile pic

revolution | College Teacher | (Level 1) Valedictorian

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It is the reactants. Mostly, they are positioned at the left of the equations while the products are the left of the reaction.

giorgiana1976's profile pic

giorgiana1976 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

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Starting from the product definition that says that it is the consequence of a process or series of circumstances, it can be concluded that the product is always the result of something, so it has to occupy the second place, first place being occupied by what is leading to the appearance of the product,in the case of chemical reaction, reactants.

Chemical transformations that substances suffer are called chemical reactions.Substances which react between them are called reactants and after reaction substances are known as reaction products.Chemical reactions are classified taking into account the type of reactants and the type of reaction products (simple substance or compound), in four main types:

- Combining Reaction;

- Reaction of decomposition;

- Replacement or substitution reaction;

- Exchange reaction.

Substitution reaction has as reactants simple substance and  a composed substance.In every substitution reaction a simple substance takes the place of an item from a substance composed. (A + BC = AC + B)

The best known substitution reactions are those between :

- A metal and an acidic solution;

- A reactive metal and water;

- A metal and a solution of a salt.

Acronym RIP (rest in peace, you've suggested) is a bit morbid but very popular and easy to remember, but can I make a suggestion of another acronym, of common usage ?

 For example RRP (recommended retail price), which suggests the cycle reactant-reaction -product:


ang0220's profile pic

ang0220 | College Teacher | eNotes Newbie

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Be careful of equilibrium reactions, though.  A double arrow means the reaction could be written either way and the equation would technically be correct! 

neela's profile pic

neela | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

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In a chemical reaction, the reactants are there before chemical reaction. Then , after reaction, we get the products. The reaction takes place under conditions like, temperature, energy in the form of heat ( emitting light, sound) and a caralyser's presence which activates the speedy reaction. We represent the chemical reaction like :

Carbon + Oxygen   --(with heat energy)---> Carbon dioxide, or in the molecular formula:

C+ O2  -------------(on heating)--------> CO2

The left side here: Carbon and Oxygen are the reactants. One atom of carbon one moecule of oxygen containig twoatoms of oxygen  are the reactants. Yhe rightside of this equation, is CO2 which is the product.





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