Difference Between Physical and Chemical Properties

Physical and Chemical Properties

All the substances that you see around yourself have some or the other properties. Depending on those properties and characteristics of the substance, you can divide it into two parts. Typically, substances get classified depending on their physical and chemical properties. A chemical property is the one that gets established by changing the chemical composition of the substance. But, physical property is the one that gets determined without any change in the chemical composition of the substance. As physical and chemical properties are crucial when it comes to studying substances, you must also learn the difference between physical and chemical properties. It can help you get a broader understanding of the subject, so read this article until the end. 


What are Physical Properties?

Physical properties are the one that can get measured without altering the chemical composition of the matter. You can describe the appearance and dimension of the matter using a physical property. Regardless of the method of measurement used, the chemical and molecular composition of the matter stays the same. 


Therefore, any property that can get measured or detected without conducting a chemical reaction is a physical property. Further, physical properties get classified into two types – intensive properties and extensive properties. 


An intensive property is the one that doesn’t rely on the amount of substance. Properties related to the appearance of the substance are intensive properties. For instance, colour is an intensive property as it stays unaffected by the amount of substance. Similarly, melting point and boiling point of a substance, density are examples of an intensive property.    


And extensive property relies on the amount of substance. It means that extensive property changes when you change the amount of substance. For instance, mass is an extensive property as it depends on the amount of substance to get measured. Likewise, volume, length, and other dimensions that get changed when the amount of matter gets changed are extensive properties.


What are Chemical Properties?

A definition of a chemical property is that measuring the property causes a change in the chemical structure of the substance. A chemical property of a substance becomes apparent upon chemical change or reaction in the substance. Also, a chemical property shows the ability of a substance to combine with other substances or transform into a different product. 


The chemical composition of a substance is moreover an identity of the substance; upon changing the chemical composition, the substance turns into a different substance. Chemical property can measure the changes a substance undergoes when it goes through a chemical reaction. And when the chemical reaction takes place, the matter transforms into an entirely different matter. 


A chemical property is any property which gets determined when a change takes place in the chemical identity of the substance. Some examples of chemical properties are – toxicity, the heat of combustion, reactivity, enthalpy of formation, oxidation states, radioactivity, etc.  


Difference Between Physical Properties and Chemical Properties

Physical property 

Chemical property 

Physical properties are those you can observe or measure without bringing a chemical change. 

Chemical properties are those you can observe or measure when the substance goes through a chemical change.  

Physical properties can get measured without changing the chemical composition of the substance.  

Chemical properties can get measured by honing the chemical composition of the substance. 

No chemical reaction is necessary to show the property. 

You need to conduct a chemical reaction to show the property. 

There is no direct relationship between a physical property and chemical bonds of a substance.  

There is a direct relationship between a chemical property and chemical bonds of a substance.   

Here, the structure of a material does not change.  

In chemical properties, the structure of material always changes. 

You cannot use the physical property to predict how the substances will react.  

Chemical properties can get used to predict how substances will react. 

Examples of physical property include –

odour, colour, shape, volume, mass, length, temperature, shape, boiling point, freezing point, melting point, solubility, etc. 

Examples of chemical property include –toxicity, flammability, reactivity, viscosity, buoyancy, heat of combustion, radioactivity, etc.  

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Question 1: What are the Types of Physical Properties?

Answer: As you know, physical properties are those which you can measure and observe, without altering the composition of the matter. Physical properties can either be intensive or extensive. 

  • Extensive: It depends on the amount of matter getting measured, such as mass, volume, and length. These properties are external, and you cannot identify the substance using extensive properties. For instance, you may measure 100g of oil or water, but that doesn’t help you identify the substance being oil or water.  

  • Intensive: It does not rely on the amount of matter getting measured, like, colour, viscosity, density, buoyancy, melting and freezing point. These properties are constant, and you can identify the substance using intensive properties. For example, the density of liquid water is 1g/ml, the freezing point is 0 0C, and the boiling point of is 1000C.

Question 2: State Some Examples of Physical and Chemical Properties.

Answer: Physical properties are those that can get measured and observed without bringing a chemical change. Examples of physical properties are – temperature, malleability, appearance, texture, odour, colour, shape, solubility, melting, freezing, and boiling point. Volume, mass, length, density, pressure, viscosity, and hardness are a few more physical properties. 


Chemical properties are those that get observed or measured when the substance undergoes a chemical change. Examples of chemical properties are – toxicity, chemical stability, the heat of combustion, flammability, reactivity, and enthalpy of formation. Further, buoyancy, viscosity, compressibility, radioactivity, oxidation state, and the ability to form chemical bonds are chemical properties too.