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Homework Help: Whats the difference between a reactant and a reagent?

  1. Mar 14, 2006 #1


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    is there any?
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 14, 2006 #2
  4. Mar 15, 2006 #3


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    I think there is a slight difference.

    From answers.com,

    reactant: A substance participating in a chemical reaction, especially a directly reacting substance present at the initiation of the reaction.

    reagent: A substance used in a chemical reaction to detect, measure, examine, or produce other substances.

    For example, hydrochloric acid is the chemical reagent, that would cause the reactant calcium carbonate to release carbon dioxide. Naming as a reactant or reagent is a matter of convention or perspective.
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2006
  5. Mar 15, 2006 #4
    Sorry, my mistake. But I am new to english terms.
  6. Feb 20, 2008 #5
    reactant or reagent

    I am a spanish/english translator and I need to know if the correct collocation to mean the test conducted to recognize cocaine during customs controls requires a "reactant of cocaine" or a "reagent of cocaine" or something different. My interest is only terminological, my mother tongue is Spanish and I am translating into English, so you, English native speakers and physicists, will certainly be able to help me. Thank you.
  7. Feb 20, 2008 #6


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    'Reagent' is more appropriate (or more common) but 'reactant' would not be incorrect in this case. Most test kits contain 'reagents' as you could discern from many chemical suppliers' descriptions of their test kits.
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