Difference Between Physical Properties and Chemical Properties (With Table)

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.

All the matters do have chemical properties 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.

Physical Properties vs Chemical Properties

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

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


Comparison Table Between Physical Properties and Chemical Properties (in Tabular Form)

Parameter of Comparison

Chemical Properties

Physical properties


Chemical change takes place

Physical change takes place


A chemical reaction is required for showcasing property

No chemical reaction is needed for showcasing change in property


It predicts that how substance reacts

It is used to identify and describe the substance


Chemical properties are related to the substance’s chemical bonds.

It doesn’t show such relationships.


Viscosity, compressibility, flammability, toxicity, radioactivity

Molecular weight, volume, freezing point, melting point


What are Physical Properties?

Physical properties of matter can be understood and measured with making any change in the composition of matter. Physical matter describes the matter.

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

There are three states of matters: gas, liquid and solid. All these states have different melting points and boiling points which helps in the differentiation of all the 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 substance.

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

Example of Physical Properties

Identification of
material whether it is hard or soft. For example, many elements like silver and
gold are quite soft whereas matter like chromium, tungsten, titanium is very hard.
An exciting example is Carbon, it is soft but when it is converted to diamond,
it is the hardest substance.


What are Chemical Properties?

Chemical properties provide evidence when a substance goes under chemical change or chemical reaction. It is difficult to look at the chemical properties by simply touching or viewing.

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.

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. If you want to check any of these chemical
properties of matter, then the chemical reaction is needed.

Example of chemical properties.

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

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 and much more.
  2. When a matter changes into a different type of matter because of 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 structure material whereas physical properties do not change the structure of the material.
  5. To identify chemical properties, a matter needs to undergo some chemical reactions, whereas in the case of physical properties it does not need to go under any chemical reaction.
  6. Many times chemical properties are used to find how a substance reacts, whereas physical properties are used to know the physical composition.



All the substances do have chemical properties as well as physical properties. But both properties differ from each other since physical property determines the identity of the matter such as melting and boiling points, hardness, density, and colour.

Whereas chemical properties are used to determine how matter undergoes a chemical change. To identify chemical properties, people look at the chemical change. Any chemical change in the matter can form different types of matter.

For example, rusting of iron is a chemical change, since rust is formed when iron, water and oxygen react with each other.

In need to understand
all the chemical properties and physical properties, there should be an
understanding of chemical and physical changes. A chemical change happens when
a substance changes into another substance and a new product is formed due to
change in molecular composition.

Several other important terms such as intensive property, extensive property are also important to understand chemical properties and physical properties.

Since both extensive properties and intensive properties are important to learn about physical properties since they help to understand the change in the physical identity of matter.



  1. https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-1-4757-4260-2_3
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0099239906809672
  3. https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/cr900238d