MHS Chemistry
Physical and Chemical Properties of Matter

Anything that can be used to identify a piece of matter is a called a property. If the property can be measured without changing the composition of the matter, it is a physical property. Examples of physical properties include color and density. Melting temperature and boiling temperature are also physical properties, because changing between solid and liquid and gas does not change the identity of the substance (ice, water, and steam are all still water).

A property can also describe how a sample of matter changes into a substance with different physical properties. These are known as chemical properties. Examples of chemical properties include the ability to burn (reacting with oxygen and releasing heat), how a substance reacts to a specific chemical, and acid/base properties.

The properties of a substance can be used to identify it. For example, if a pure metal has a density of 8.9 g/mL, it may be cobalt, nickel or possibly copper. The identity can be narrowed down still further by another physical property such as color (copper is, um, copper-colored - look at a clean penny), or melting temperature. A list of physical properties of the elements can be found here in an Excel spreadsheet.

[Properties of the Elements][MHS Chemistry page]