Physical Change vs Chemical Change

In chemistry, concepts or topics are either derived through chemical and physical reactions or the changes caused by them directly or influential. So, students have to understand these changes in order to learn further topics in the subject. Thus, to help you, we have put together a detailed guide about the Difference Between Physical and Chemical Changes, Characteristics, as well as examples for a better understanding. 

Physical Change vs Chemical Change

What is a Physical Change?

A Physical Change is defined as a reversible change where the physical properties of the component or matter change. These properties include the change in shape and size of the component. However, when a physical change is observed in a material, there will not be any chemical change in the properties of the said component. For example, water can be turned into liquid and solid form, but the chemical properties such as melting and boiling point do not change. 

What is a Chemical Change?

As you can understand from the title, when a chemical substance is transformed by other then it is referred to as a chemical change. Besides, the main difference between chemical and physical change is that it is not reversible, thus the properties of the chemical substance also change with the reaction. For example, materials such as paper and wood, when burned turn into ash. 

Difference Between Physical and Chemical Change

Now that you have a good idea about Physical and Chemical changes, let us now discuss the various differences between Physical and Chemical Changes. 

Parameter  Physical Change  Chemical Change 
Definition  The change in the molecules is forced to rearrange themselves, not affecting the physical attributes of the component.  While a chemical change is a complete transformation of a substance from one form to another, and thus chemical composition also changes. 
Nature  Physical Change is reversible in nature.  While Chemical change is irreversible in nature. 
Energy  It does not cause either evolution or absorption of energy.  In a chemical change, both energy evolution and absorption are observed. 
Substance  Because of the Physical change, no new substance is formed.  Whereas in Chemical change, one or more new substances can be observed. 
Type of Change  This type of change is considered to be temporary.  However, a chemical change is said to be a permanent change. 
Examples   Boiling of Water, Melting of Wax, Freezing of water, etc.  Rusting of Metal, Burning of Coal, Digestion of Food, etc. 

Characteristics of Physical and Chemical Change

Both Physical and Chemical changes have unique characteristics as listed in brief today. 

Physical Change Characteristics

  • When a physical change is observed, the energy is not released in any form 
  • However, in a physical change, only the physical properties of the material change, thus no new substance is formed 
  • As stated above, Physical change is also reversible 
  • And physical change usually involves a change in the shape, color, and size of the object 
  • Lastly, there is no chemical change observed in the object, and thus chemical properties remain the same 

Chemical Change Characteristics

  • In a chemical change, due to the chemical reaction observed, energy is either released or absorbed  
  • And also, once a chemical change occurs in an object, it cannot be reversed  
  • When a chemical change occurs, a precipitate is formed, as two or more new substances are created  
  • Furthermore, when a chemical change occurs in a substance, its volume also changes, due to the absorption or release of energy 
  • Besides, chemical change also causes changes in color, change in its state, and temperature


In the article above, we have provided a comprehensive description of the physical change vs chemical change along with examples in great detail. Besides, if you have further doubts about any other topics or chapters. Then it is suggested to join the Online Interactive Classes offered by our Tutoroot platform, where you can get various benefits such as Exclusive Doubt Clarification Sessions, Expert Staff Guidance, Access to Best Education Materials, and many more. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How is chemical change different from physical change? 

In a physical change, only the appearance of the component is transforming, while in a chemical change complete substance will get altered. 

Is original matter Lost in Chemical change? 

Yes, the original matter will be lost during the chemical change, thus affecting the physical as well as chemical properties of the matter. 

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