chemical property

[ kem-i-kuhl prop-er-tee ]


  1. Chemistry. a property or characteristic of a substance that is observed during a reaction in which the chemical composition or identity of the substance is changed:

    Combustibility is an important chemical property to consider when choosing building materials.

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Word History and Origins

Origin of chemical property1

First recorded in 1720–30

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Example Sentences

Atoms are the smallest particles with distinct chemical properties.

They can exist on their own — cellulose is a plant glycan made up of long chains of glucose — or they can be anchored to other biomolecules like proteins and lipids, whose chemical properties they modify.

These included unanswered questions about the identities and origins of energetic particles called cosmic rays, and why chemical elements occur in different varieties called isotopes, which have similar chemical properties but varying masses.

A molecule is the smallest particle of a substance that still has all the chemical properties of that substance.

Alkalies are known to have the chemical property of holding Fibrine in solution.

Its most marked chemical property is its ability to combine with water to form sulphurous acid (H2SO3).

Alkalies have another well-known chemical property—they dissolve grease and oil and enable them to mix with water.

It possesses the peculiar chemical property which renders it valuable in tanning leather.


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More About Chemical Property

What is a chemical property?

A chemical property is a characteristic of a particular substance that can be observed in a chemical reaction. Some major chemical properties include flammability, toxicity, heat of combustion, pH value, rate of radioactive decay, and chemical stability.

A chemical change or reaction is a process in which one substance changes to another substance. In this process, the characteristics of the substances change, and this is when chemical properties are observed.

A chemical property is not to be confused with a physical property, which includes such characteristics as shape (volume and size), color, texture, flexibility, density, and mass.

Chemical property vs. physical property

You can’t necessarily find out a substance’s chemical properties by looking at it. They are observed when that substance is undergoing a chemical change.

Water, for example, has a chemical structure of H₂O, or two hydrogen atoms bonded with one oxygen atom. Adding another oxygen atom gets you H₂O₂, hydrogen peroxide, which looks a lot like water both in its chemical formula and appearance in real life, but is a completely different substance.

We can drink water just fine, but you absolutely cannot drink straight hydrogen peroxide: it will chemically react with other substances in your body, damaging tissue and making you sick. That reaction (or lack thereof in the case of water) is a very basic way of telling us about the important chemical property of toxicity.

Other chemical properties include a substance’s pH value and reactivity with water and oxygen. You have to test a substance by making it undergo a reaction to find out these properties. Physical properties such as color and density, on the other hand, can be observed without making the substance undergo a chemical change.

Did you know ... ?

Chemical properties helped Russian scientist Dmitri Mendeleev begin developing a periodic table of the elements in the 1860–70s. His table greatly influenced the version we use today. Mendeleev left gaps in his table, using chemical properties in part, to predict the existence of elements that would not be discovered until years later.

What are real-life examples of chemical property?

This video compares chemical properties and physical properties of matter:

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What other words are related to chemical property?

Quiz yourself!

Which of the following are chemical properties?

  • color
  • heat of combustion
  • boiling point
  • melting point
  • rate of radioactive decay
  • density




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