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
- Enthalpy of formation
- Heat of combusion
- Oxidation states
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
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- 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..