Precipitation Reaction

Precipitation Reaction Equation and Examples

A precipitation reaction is a kind of chemical reaction in which two soluble salts in a fluid solution mixes and one of the items is an insoluble salt called a precipitate. The precipitate stays in the solution as a barrier or it can also be removed from the liquid by using the process of centrifugation, decantation or filtration. Most of the other salts are insoluble except calcium, barium etc.

Precipitation reactions are generally single replacement reaction or double replacement reactions. In a double substitution reaction, both ionic reactants separate in water. For a double replacement reaction to be a precipitation reaction, one of the items must be insoluble in the liquid solution. 

Precipitation Example

Silver nitrate and potassium chloride is a precipitation reaction because solid silver chloride is formed as a product of the reaction. 

AgNO3(aq) + KCl(aq) → AgCl(s) + KNO3(aq) 

The reaction could be seen as a precipitation reaction because 2 ionic liquid solutions react to a form a solid product.
When a precipitation reaction is written in the terms of ions in the solution, it is known as ionic equations.

Ag+ (aq) + NO3−(aq) + K+ (aq) + Cl−(aq) → AgCl (s) + K+ (aq) + NO3−(aq) 

Net ionic equations are another way to write a precipitation reaction. In a net ionic equation, the ions that don't take part in the precipitation are left out. These ions are called spectator ions. In this example, the net ionic equation is 

Ag+(aq) + Cl−(aq) → AgCl (s) 

Uses of Precipitation

Precipitation can be used to separate the cation or anion a soluble salt. These reactions are used to remove salt from water and to segregate items. Under controlled conditions, a precipitation reaction produces unadulterated stones. In metallurgy, precipitation is used to reinforce combinations of metals.

Precipitation reactions help in determining a particular component in a given solution.

Precipitation reaction can be used in waste water treatment. In waste water treatment, many metals can be discovered, for instance: mixers of sulphate and hydroxide.

3 ways of recovering a precipitate.

Filtration: In the filtration process, the mixture of the precipitate is poured over a funnel. In a perfect condition, the precipitate stays on the funnel, while the fluid goes through it. The holder may be flushed and poured onto the channel to help recovering.

Centrifugation: In centrifugation, the mixture is quickly rotated. The solid precipitate must be thicker than the fluid. The compressed precipitate, called the pellet, can be recovered by pouring off the fluid. There is normally less misfortune than with filtration.

Decantation: In decantation, the fluid layer is poured or suctioned far from the precipitant. Repeatedly, an extra soluble particle is added to separate the mixture from the precipitant.

Properties of Precipitates

Precipitates are insoluble ionic solid results of a reaction, formed when certain cations and anions join in a watery solution. The determining element of the solution of a precipitate can change. A few reactions rely upon temperature, such as, the solution used for buffers, whereas others rely just on the solution concentration. The solids created in precipitation reaction are crystalline solids, which can be suspended throughout the fluid or settle to the base of the solution. The left-out liquid is called supernatant liquid. The two segments of the mixture (precipitate and supernate) can be separated by different techniques, for example, filtration, centrifuging, or decanting.

Both reactants are liquid and one product is solid. Because the reactants are ionic and liquid, they separate and are therefore soluble. However, there are six solubility rules used to forecast which particles are insoluble in water. These particles form a solid precipitate in solution.

Precipitation and Double Replacement Reactions

Most precipitations are single replacement reactions or double replacement reaction. A double replacement reaction happens when two ionic reactants separate and bond with the individual anion or cation from the other reactant. The particles replace each other depending on their charges as either a cation or an anion.

Double replacement reaction:

A double replacement reaction is particularly classified as a precipitation reaction when the chemical equation occurs in liquid solution and one of the products formed is insoluble. An example of a precipitation reaction is given beneath:


Solubility Rules

Regardless of whether a reaction results a precipitate is depended on the solvability rules. These principles show us which particles change into solids, and which stay in their ionic structure in the liquid solution. These principles are to be followed starting from the top, implying that if something is insoluble (or soluble) because of rule 1, it has priority over a higher-numbered rule.
  • 1. Salts formed with rule 1 cation and NH+4 cations are soluble. There are a few special cases for certain Li+ salts.

  • 2. Acetates (C2H3O-2) nitrates (NO-3) and perchlorates (ClO-4 ) are dissolvable.

  • 3. Bromides and iodides are soluble.

  • 4. Sulphates (SO2-4 ) are dissolvable except for sulphates with Ca2++, Sr2+, and Ba2+.

  • 5. Salts containing silver, lead, and mercury is not soluble.

  • 6. Carbonates (CO2-3), phosphates (PO3-4) sulfides, oxides, and hydroxides (OH) are insoluble. Sulphides made with rule 2 cations and hydroxides formed with calcium, strontium, and barium are special cases.

  • Net Ionic Equations

    To comprehend the meaning of a net ionic condition, review the condition for the double replacement reaction. Since this specific reaction is a precipitation reaction, states of matter can be delegated to every variable pair:

    AB(aq) + CD(aq→ AD(aq) + CB(s)

    The initial step to composing a net ionic condition is to separate the soluble (watery) reactants and particles into their individual cations and anions. Precipitates don't separate in water, so the solid shall not be separated. The subsequent condition is shown below:

    A+(aq) + B-(aq) + C+(aq) + D-(aq→ A+(aq) + D-(aq) + CB(s)

    In the condition above, A+ and D- particles are available on the two sides of the condition. These are called observer particles since they stay unchanged throughout the reaction. Since they experience the condition unaltered, they can be wiped out to demonstrate the net ionic condition:

    C(aq)+ B(aq→ CB (s)


    1. Complete the double replacement reaction and after that reduce it to the net ionic condition.


    To start with, foresee the results of this reaction utilizing the knowledge of double replacement reactions.
    Second, counsel the solubility principles to decide whether the items are soluble. Rule 1 cations (Na+) and chlorides are dissolvable from principles 1 and 3 separately, so NaCl will be soluble in water. In any case, rule 6 expresses that hydroxides are insoluble, and in this way Mg(OH)2will shape a precipitate. The subsequent equation is the following:


    Third, separate the reactants into their ionic structures, as they would exist in a watery solution. Make sure that you adjust both the electrical charge and the number of molecules:


    Finally, kill the observer particles (the particles that occur on the two sides of the equations unaltered). For this situation, they are the sodium and chlorine particles. The last net ionic condition is: