Reaction Mechanism

Reaction Mechanism Definition:

The reaction mechanism is a representation of the motion of electrons taking place in a reaction.

Reaction Mechanism Explained:

It is, therefore, a step by step representation of the flow of electrons among the reagents that result in the overall reaction. This flow of electrons is indicated by using curved arrows. Note: the curved arrow representation, in this case, differs from the curved arrow used in resonance structures. In resonance structures, the electrons don’t ‘physically’ move, but in reactions, they do.

Example – Acid-Base Reaction

Alternatively, the sequence of steps involved int he reaction also constitutes the reaction mechanism. When understanding the various reactions in organic chemistry, we will represent an overall reaction as a sum of intermediary reactions called ‘reaction steps’