# What is the difference between reacting and dissolving?

When one chemical is added to another how would we come to know whether the compound dissolves in it or reacts with it? For example $\ce{AgNO3}$ dissolves in $\ce{CCl4}$ whereas it could also have been a double displacement reaction. And what is the major difference between the two processes at atomic level?

• Dissolving is a type of reaction. Double displacement is a different type of reaction. So something which is dissolving is also reacting. – bon Aug 19 '15 at 18:32
• @bon Does this mean that new compounds are formed even when one compound dissolves in another? – user456 Aug 19 '15 at 18:40
• @user456 New species may be formed, like solvated ions for instance but these don't count as new compounds. – bon Aug 19 '15 at 19:52

CCl4 is a covalent compound (having no free ions). Thus it cannot enter into an ionic reaction/double displacement reaction.

Basic Requisites for checking reactivity

Bonds

• Ionic = "Ionic bonding is a type of chemical bond that involves the electrostatic attraction between oppositely charged ions. These ions represent atoms that have lost one or more electrons (known as cations) and atoms that have gained one or more electrons (known as anions)." Wikipedia
Thus the elements can take or give electrons. In a solution they exist as ions.
• Covalent = "A covalent bond is a chemical bond that involves the sharing of electron pairs between atoms. These electron pairs are known as shared pairs or bonding pairs and the stable balance of attractive and repulsive forces between atoms when they share electrons is known as covalent bonding." Wikipedia
Thus it has no free electrons to give or take.
• Then how does it dissolve in agno3? – user456 Aug 19 '15 at 19:12

As a matter of fact, when we say dissolve, it means that when you put something into e.g. water, that chemical might break down into tiny pieces or particles -- you will not be able to see those pieces, and we call this "dissolving".

And on the other hand, when we say react, it means that the chemicals might bond with each other and then produce a new chemical, and this new chemical will then be called as product also.

Consider when you mix sugar in the water present in your cup, then you will first see pieces of sugar in a big size, but after you mix the water, then the water will become clean, but the water has turned those pieces of sugar into very tiny pieces that our eyes cannot see.