9 Metathesis Reaction Examples: Detailed Explanations

In this article, “metathesis reaction examples”, different types of metathesis reaction examples with detailed explanations are discussed briefly.

The examples are-

  1. Neutralization Reaction
  2. Acid and Carbonates Metathesis
  3. Olefin Metathesis Reaction
  4. Salt Metathesis
  5. Alkyne Metathesis
  6. Alkane Metathesis
  7. Gas Formation Reaction
  8. Ethenolysis
  9. Enyne Metathesis

What is Metathesis Reaction?

The Greek word “metathesis” is the summation of two words, meta (change) and thesis (position). From the name it is clear that this reaction gives a focus on the change of position of atom or molecules.

Let’s take an example of one metathesis reaction.


In the above example the species B and C has changed their respective position and form new species in product side.

Neutralization Reaction

Neutralization reaction is an example of double displacement metathesis reaction. When equal amounts of acid and equal amounts of base is reacted with each other then neutralization reaction occurs. Base will be neutralized by acid and form salt with water.

For example,

HCl (aq) + NaOH (aq) NaCl (aq) + H2O (l)

In this above example of neutralization reaction, strong base NaOH is completely neutralized by strong acid, HCl and sodium chloride salt with water is obtained as product.

Acid and Carbonates Metathesis

Reaction between acid and carbonates or bicarbonates to form carbonic acid is one of the most important examples of metathesis reaction. This carbonic acid is also decomposed to two species, carbon dioxide and water. One example known as volcano reaction between acetic acid (CH3COOH) and sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3) is written below-

CH3COOH (aq) + NaHCO3 (s) CH3COONa (aq) + CO2 + H2O

To know more please go through: SN1 mechanism: Detailed Insights And Facts

Olefin Metathesis Reaction

Olefin metathesis is the most important metathesis reaction involving two double bond and form a four membered intermediate substance. But this intermediate later rearranged and form two different olefinic substance.

metathesis reaction examples
Olefin Metathesis.
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Metal heterogeneous catalysts are generally used for the progress of the reaction. These types of catalysts are prepared by in-situ process in which metal halides using organolithium compounds. One of the most used catalysts is Grubb’s catalyst (ruthenium carbenoid complex).

Some types of olefin metathesis reactions are mentioned below-

  • Cross metathesis (CM)
  • Ring-opening metathesis (ROM)
  • Ring-closing metathesis (RCM)
  • Ring-opening metathesis polymerization (ROMP)
  • Acyclic diene metathesis (ADMET)
  • Ethenolysis

Salt Metathesis

Salt metathesis reaction is basically a double displacement reaction. It is a chemical process which involves exchange of chemical bonds (ionic or covalent) between two reactants and in product side different species will be obtained with different bond connectivity from reactant.

For example-

AgNO3 + HCl HNO3 + AgCl

In this example, two negatively charged species (NO3 and Cl) are interchanged from their positions in product side.

Three different types of salt metathesis reaction are observed-

  • Counter-ion exchange
  • Alkylation
  • Salt-free metathesis reaction

Alkyne Metathesis

This reaction is a metathesis reaction which rearranges the alkyne chemical bonds. Like olefin metathesis, this reaction also needs a metal catalyst.

For example, nitrile-alkylene cross metathesis or NACM can be considered. In this reaction, tungsten alkylidyne is replaced by tungsten nitride and a new alkyne compound is introduced. Though nitrogen is collected but it elemental nitrogen cannot be formed.

Nitrile-alkyne cross metathesis.
Image credit: Wikimedia Commons.

 To know more please check: 5+ Double Bond Examples: Detailed Insights And Facts

Alkane Metathesis

This reaction is also catalyzed by metal catalyst involving a chemical reaction in which alkane compound is rearranged and form a new alkane. The conversion from ethane to methane, propane and a little amount of butane is catalyzed by the catalyst tantalum hydride supported on silica (SiO2) at the temperature range from 298K to 473K.

 Cross metathesis reaction can also take place and for the above example methane and propane combines with each other to obtain ethane again.

Alkane Metathesis Reaction.
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

 To know more please follow: N2 polar or nonpolar: Why, How, Characteristics, And Detailed Facts

Gas Formation Reaction

Gas formation reaction is also a double displacement reaction like salt metathesis reaction. A gaseous compound is evolved in this reaction. For example,

2HCl (aq) + Na2S (aq) H2S (gas) + 2NaCl (aq)

Decomposition of weak electrolytes is also a gas forming reaction. Carbonic acid (H2CO3) is decomposed to form carbon dioxide and water.

H2CO3 (aq) H2O (l) + CO2 (gas)


Ethenolysis is basically the cross-metathesis reaction using ethylene. This reaction involves a transformation using a catalyst that is used for the purpose of cleaving the double bond linking two carbon atoms. The main product of this reaction is a compound with a terminal alkene functional group which can be used in polymerization and hydroformylation.

Ethenolysis reaction can be expressed as-

A=B + CH2=CH2 A=CH2 + B=CH2

To know more please check: 4 Single Covalent Bond Examples : Detailed Insights And Facts

Enyne Metathesis

In this metathesis reaction, an alkyne and an alkene compound combine with each other to form a butadiene. This reaction proceeds by the metal carbene catalyst. This metathesis process is similar to the olefin metathesis reaction.

If enyne metathesis proceeds through intramolecular pathway, then the metathesis reaction is known as ring-closing enyne metathesis or RCEYM reaction.

Ring closing Enyne Metathesis Reaction.
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

Aditi Roy

Hello, I am Aditi Ray, a chemistry SME on this platform. I have completed graduation in Chemistry from the University of Calcutta and post graduation from Techno India University with a specialization in Inorganic Chemistry. I am very happy to be a part of the Lambdageeks family and I would like to explain the subject in a simplistic way. Let's connect through LinkedIn-https://www.linkedin.com/in/aditi-ray-a7a946202

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