Chemical Property – Definition and Examples

Chemical Properties
Chemical properties of matter may only be observed during a chemical reaction.

A chemical property is a characteristic of matter that can only be observed and measured by performing a chemical reaction or chemical change. In other words, you have to change the chemical identity of a substance or rearrange its internal structure to know its chemical properties.

In contrast, a physical property is observable and measurable without changing the internal structure of matter.

Examples of Chemical Properties

Matter has many chemical properties. Examples include:

  • Acidity and basicity
  • Catalytic ability
  • Chemical bond formation
  • Chemical reactivity
  • Chemical stability
  • Coordination number
  • Corrosivity
  • Electronegativity
  • Enthalpy of formation
  • Flammability
  • Heat of combusion
  • Oxidation states
  • Radioactivity
  • Solubility
  • Toxicity

For example, rusting (a type of corrosion) is an example of a chemical property. In order to know iron rusts, it has to oxidize. Oxidation is a chemical reaction. So, a chemical change had to occur to know the property.

Importance of Chemical Properties

It’s helpful to know the chemical properties of a substance because the information helps:

  • Identify it
  • Classify it
  • Store it safely
  • Know its hazards
  • Predict its reactions with other samples
  • Predict its uses
  • Purify it
  • Separate it from other chemicals


  • Emiliani, Cesare (1987). Dictionary of the Physical Sciences: Terms, Formulas, Data. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-503651-0.
  • Masterton, William L.; Hurley, Cecile N. (2009). Chemistry: Principles and Reactions (6th ed.). Brooks/Cole Cengage Learning.
  • Meyers, Robert A. (2001). Encyclopedia of Physical Science and Technology (3rd ed.). Academic Press. ISBN 978-0-12-227410-7.
  • Petrucci, Bissonnette; Herring, Madura (2011). General Chemistry: Principles and Modern Applications (10th ed.). Pearson Education Inc..

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