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Difference Between Physical and Chemical Change

Difference Between Physical and Chemical Change

There are many differences between physical and chemical changes and it is important to understand them to be able to understand these concepts clearly. The comparisons and differences between physical and chemical changes are given below along with their examples. To understand physical and chemical properties and changes better, it is important to know what they are. Visit physical and chemical changes to know more about them in detail. In this article, the differences between physical changes and chemical changes are provided in a tabular format.

Table of Contents

  • Differences Between Physical and Chemical Change
  • Recommended Videos
  • Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs
  • Differences Between Physical and Chemical Change

    Physical Change Chemical Change
    When a substance undergoes a physical change, its composition remains the same despite its molecules being rearranged. When a substance undergoes a chemical change, its molecular composition is changed entirely. Thus, chemical changes involve the formation of new substances.
    Physical change is a temporary change. A chemical change is a permanent change.
    A Physical change affects only physical properties i.e. shape, size, etc. Chemical change both physical and chemical properties of the substance including its composition
    A physical change involves very little to no absorption of energy. During a chemical reaction, absorption and evolution of energy take place.
    Some examples of physical change are freezing of water, melting of wax, boiling of water, etc. A few examples of chemical change are digestion of food, burning of coal, rusting, etc.
    Generally, physical changes do not involve the production of energy. Chemical changes usually involve the production of energy (which can be in the form of heat, light, sound, etc.)
    In a physical change, no new substance is formed. A chemical change is always accompanied by one or more new substance(s).
    Physical change is easily reversible i.e original substance can be recovered. Chemical changes are irreversible i.e. original substance cannot be recovered.

    Thus, it can be understood that the primary difference between physical and chemical changes is that physical changes are reversible whereas chemical changes are usually not.  To learn more about how physical and chemical changes are different, register with BYJU’S now!

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    Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs

    How can you tell the difference between physical and chemical changes?

    The appearance or form of matter changes during a physical change, but the type of matter in the substance does not. A chemical change, on the other contrary, results in the creation of at least one new substance with new properties.

    Why is it important to know the difference between physical and chemical changes?

    It’s essential to recognise the difference between chemical and physical changes. Several changes are obvious, but there are some fundamental concepts to be aware of. Physical changes usually refer to changes in the physical state of stuff. When two or more molecules interact, chemical changes occur on a molecular level.

    What are the examples of physical and chemical changes?

    Examples of chemical changes would be burning, cooking, rusting, and rotting.
    Examples of physical changes could be boiling, melting, freezing, and shredding.
    Most physical changes can be reversed if sufficient energy is provided. A chemical change can only be reversed through another chemical reaction.

    How to tell whether it’s a physical or chemical change?

    Check for indications that a chemical change has taken place. The following are indications of a chemical change:

    • Gas is created. Bubbles can occur in liquids.
    • An odour is created.
    • The colour of the substance changes.
    • Sound is generated.
    • There is a shift in the temperature. The environment either heats up or cools down.
    • Light is generated.
    • A precipitate develops.
    • Reversing the change is difficult or impossible.

    What are three forces that can cause a physical change?

    Forces such as motion, temperature, and pressure can create physical changes. Oxygen in the air reacts with sugar, and the chemical bonds are destroyed.

    Test your Knowledge on Difference Between Physical And Chemical Change


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    31. Are rotting vegetables an example of a physical or chemical change? Or is it neither?

      • Decaying plant and rotting vegetables is another chemical reaction, because this reaction is non-reversible. Also because the decomposition of the plant changes the chemical formulas of the compounds in the plant.

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