Predicting Products of Chemical Equations

Chemists  MUST be able to predict what happens in a chemical reaction.  You never want to mix two compounds if you can't predict the outcome.  It's a matter of safety.  

Predicting Products of Single Replacement Reactions:
  1. Analyze the reactants to note the "lone element" and the compound.  What element in the compound is similar to the "lone element?"
  2. Check the activity series to see if the "lone element" is higher than the "like element" in the compound.
  3. If so, then the lone element will take the place of the like element in the compound.  You'll have to criss-cross to write the new compound formula.  
  4. The element that was removed from the compound now becomes the lone element in the products.
Predicting Products of Double Replacement Reactions:
  1. Analyze the reactants to note the cation and anion in each compound.  What were their original charges?
  2. Switch the cations in the compounds, and rewrite the new compounds.  You'll have to criss-cross the new compounds.
  3. Remember, the cation should always be listed first in an equation.
Predicting Products of Combustion Reactions:
  1. Analyze the reactants.  Are the reactants a hydrocarbon and oxygen gas?  
  2. If so, then the reactants are carbon dioxide and water vapor.