Physical and Chemical Properties

All substances have properties that we can use to identify them. For example we can idenify a person by their face, their voice, height, finger prints, DNA etc.. The more of these properties that we can identify, the better we know the person. In a similar way matter has properties - and there are many of them. There are two basic types of properties that we can associate with matter. These properties are called Physical properties and Chemical properties:

Physical properties: Properties that do not change the chemical nature of matter
Chemical properties: Properties that do change tha chemical nature of matter

Examples of physical properties are: color, smell, freezing point, boiling point, melting point, infra-red spectrum, attraction (paramagnetic) or repulsion (diamagnetic) to magnets, opacity, viscosity and density. There are many more examples. Note that measuring each of these properties will not alter the basic nature of the substance.

Examples of chemical properties are: heat of combustion, reactivity with water, PH, and electromotive force.

The more properties we can identify for a substance, the better we know the nature of that substance. These properties can then help us model the substance and thus understand how this substance will behave under various conditions.

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C101 Class Notes
Prof. N. De Leon