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Decomposition Reactions
 

A decomposition reaction is the opposite of a synthesis reaction. In a decomposition reaction a reactant compound is broken into two or more less complex substances. you are given a compound as the reactant. In most cases, to find the product you split the compound into the individual elements. The other types of decomposition reactions (decomposition of a hydrate, chlorate, carbonate, etc.) are covered in other tutorials. This tutorial focuses on the decomposition of a binary compound. The general pattern of a decomposition reaction is:
        AB --> A + B
Look at the example below.
Example #1:
       2H
2O(l) --> 2H2(g) + O2(g)
Water decomposes (usually with the help of electricity) to form hydrogen gas and oxygen gas. Hydrogen and oxygen are written with subscripts of 2 because they are both diatomic molecules.
Now let’s go step by step.
Predict the products when solid iron(II) oxide decomposes.
Description of Action
Action
1. Write the formula for the given reactant. FeO(s) -->
2. On the products side of the equation, write the symbols for the two elements in the compound. Be sure to separate the elements by a + sign. If either of the elements is diatomic, be sure to write a 2 as its subscript. FeO(s) --> Fe(s) + O2(g)
Oxygen is diatomic, so it is written with a subscript of 2.
3. Balance the equation. 2FeO(s) --> 2Fe(s) + O2(g)

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