Reactants vs Products
A reaction is a process of converting a set of substances into another set of substances. The substances at the beginning are known as reactants, and the substances after the reaction are known as products. When one or more reactants are converting to products, they may go through different modifications and energy changes. The chemical bonds in the reactants are breaking, and new bonds are forming to generate products, which are totally different from the reactants. This kind of chemical modification is known as chemical reactions. There are various ways to detect whether a chemical reaction is taking place. For example, heating/ cooling, color change, gas production, precipitate formation can be taken. Chemical reactions are described using chemical equations. There are numerous variables controlling the reactions. Some of these factors are concentrations of the reactants, catalysts, temperature, solvent effects, pH, sometimes the product concentrations etc. Mainly, by studying thermodynamics and kinetics, we can draw a lot of conclusions about a reaction and how we can control them. Thermodynamics is the study of transformations of energy. It is only concerned with the energetic and the position of the equilibrium in a reaction. It has nothing to say about how fast the equilibrium is reached. This question is the domain of kinetics. Reaction rate is simply the indication of the speed of the reaction. So it can be regarded as a parameter which determines how fast or how slow the reaction is. Not only chemical reactions, there are other types of reactions such as nuclear reaction, which also has the same basic characteristics as a chemical reaction.
As stated above, reactants are the substances which are present at the beginning of a reaction. Reactants should be used up during the reaction. Therefore, at the end of the reaction there will be no reactants left (if the reaction has completed) or there should be less amount of reactants (if the reaction is partially completed). Substances like catalysts and solvents can also be present when a reaction is starting. However, these substances do not consume during the reaction, so they are not categorized as reactants.
Reactants can simply be an element, a molecule or a mixture of molecules. For some reactions, only one reactant is participating whereas for another reaction, there can be few reactants participating. Ions and radicals become reactants for some reactions too. Reactants are graded depending on their purity. For some reactions, we need highly pure reactants whereas, for some other reactions, we don’t need so. The quality, state, and the energy of the reactants determine the reaction and the products formed after the reaction.
Products are the new substances formed after a reaction. They are formed by the reaction between reactants, and they have different characteristics than reactants. Products may have a lower energy or higher energy than the reactants. Amount of product produced after a reaction is determined by the amount of reactants used, reaction time, rate, etc. Products are what we are interested after a reaction; therefore, there are various methods to detect and purify products.
What is the difference between Reactants and Products?
• Reactants are the substances consumed during a reaction and products are formed.
• So reactants can be seen before a reaction whereas products are available after a reaction. (Sometimes unreacted reactants can also be present after a reaction.)
• The properties of reactant and products are different.