Physical vs Chemical Properties: Difference and Comparison

Whatever we see and touch around us is called matter. Every matter has certain kinds of properties and characteristics that help in the classification and identification of them.


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All the matters have chemical and physical properties based on which they are classified.

A chemical property differs from physical properties since the chemical property of any substance or matter is identified when a substance or matter undergoes a chemical reaction.

Key Takeaways

  1. Physical properties can be observed or measured without altering a substance’s chemical composition, such as color, density, or melting point.
  2. Chemical properties describe a substance’s ability to undergo chemical reactions and form new substances, like flammability or reactivity.
  3. Evaluating physical properties generally involves non-destructive tests, while assessing chemical properties often requires destructive tests, resulting in a chemical change.

Physical Properties vs Chemical Properties

The difference between Physical Properties and Chemical Properties is that their molecular structure changes when any chemical reaction happens to the substance. At the same time, the physical properties of a substance can be identified as the chemical compositions of the substance and its identity.

Physical Properties vs Chemical Properties

If any physical change occurs, only the rearrangement of matter occurs, but the structure remains the same.


Comparison Table

Parameter of ComparisonChemical PropertiesPhysical properties
NatureA chemical change takes placePhysical change takes place
ReactionA chemical reaction is required to showcase the propertyNo chemical reaction is needed for showcasing change in property
PredictionIt predicts how a substance reactsIt is used to identify and describe the substance
BondingChemical properties are related to the substance’s chemical bonds.It doesn’t show such relationships.
ExamplesViscosity, compressibility, flammability, toxicity, radioactivityMolecular weight, volume, freezing point, melting point


What are Physical Properties?

The physical properties of matter can be understood and measured without making any change in the composition of matter. Physical matter describes matter.

Various examples of physical properties are solubility, density, boiling point, melting point, odour, colour, texture and much more.

There are three states of matter: gas, liquid and solid. All these states have different melting and boiling points, which helps differentiate all three states.

Some of the common physical properties are

  1. Colour
  2. Density
  3. Volume
  4. Mass
  5. Melting point
  6. Boiling point

Every matter has some volume and mass. It is easy for any observer to identify any physical property, such as mass. Further physical properties can be categorized into intensive properties and extensive properties.

 It means that one can measure all the physical properties without making a change in any chemical configuration of a substance.

For example, the chemical configuration of water is the same when it is in different states, such as liquid, gas and solid.

Example of Physical Properties

Identification of the material, whether it is hard or soft. For example, many elements like silver and gold are pretty soft, whereas matter like chromium, tungsten, and titanium is tough.

An exciting example is Carbon, it is soft, but when it is converted to diamond, it is the hardest substance.

Physical Properties

What are Chemical Properties?

Chemical properties provide evidence when a substance goes under chemical change or chemical reaction. It isn’t easy to look at the chemical properties by simply touching or viewing them.

With a chemical reaction, the actual structure needs to be changed to observe all the chemical properties of substances. Chemical properties are different from physical properties since it is not easy to identify them by touching and seeing them.

Examples of chemical properties:

  1. Flammability: it is the chemical property that tells whether a substance burns or not. It determines how quickly and easily the substance can burn.
  2. The heat of combustion determines how much energy is released as heat when the substance is burned with oxygen.

Some other chemical properties are half-life, chemical stability, radioactivity, ability to oxidise, toxicity and many more. A chemical reaction is needed if you want to check any of these chemical properties of matter.

Example of chemical properties.

A typical example is iron rusting; since iron combines with oxygen, it forms iron oxide, which is the chemical name of rust. Chemical properties are helpful when one needs to identify substances.

Chemical Properties

Main Differences Between Physical Properties and Chemical Properties

  1. Physical properties describe characteristics of matter rather than change in composition due to chemical reaction. Some important physical properties are electric conductivity, density, colour change, etc.
  2. When a matter changes into a different type of matter because of a chemical reaction, then it is known as chemical property. Some important chemical properties are the heat of combustion, reactivity, acidity, flammability and many more.
  3. Physical properties change the states of matter without any change in molecular structure, whereas chemical properties change the chemical identity of the substances.
  4. Also, chemical properties change the material’s structure, whereas physical properties do not change the material’s structure.
  5. A matter needs to undergo some chemical reactions to identify chemical properties, whereas, in the case of physical properties, it does not need to go under any chemical reaction.
  6. Chemical properties are often used to find how a substance reacts, whereas physical properties are used to know the physical composition.
Difference Between Physical Properties and Chemical Properties
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