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Chemistry > Chemical Reactions and Equations > Difference between Physical and Chemical Change
Chemical Reactions and Equations

Difference between Physical and Chemical Change

Difference between Physical and Chemical Change

There are various changes that take place in our environment. You must know by now that there are essentially two kinds of changes which are physical and chemical changes. You need to understand the difference between physical and chemical change in order to understand them better.

There are various differences between the two changes and it is quite essential for anyone to know them. You can start by knowing what their characteristics are and how they function in the environment which makes them different from each other.

Physical Change

A physical change refers to a change where new substances do not form. In other words, it does impact the form of the chemical substance but not the chemical composition of it. Thus, we see how the molecules rearrange whereas the original composition remains intact.

Furthermore, the most important feature of physical change is that it is reversible very easily. Meaning to say, we can easily recover the original substance of the product.

Similarly, no new substances form during this change. Thus, we can label this change as a temporary one which is a major difference between physical and chemical change.

In addition, there is no production of energy during this change. Moreover, if you look at the absorption of the energy, you will see that during this change little or no energy is absorbed.

Most importantly, another difference between physical and chemical change is that during physical change there is an impact only on the physical properties of the thing like its shape, size or more.

For instance, when the water boils or freezes, that is said to be a physical change. Similarly, when we melt wax it goes through physical change. There are other processes which are examples of physical change that are chopping wood, crushing a can, someone shredding apart the paper and more.

difference between physical and chemical change

Chemical Change

A chemical change refers to any change which results in the formation of a new substance. Thus, it means that it affects the chemical composition of the thing.

Moreover, the number and types of atoms in the chemical change are constant but their arrangement gets altered.

Moreover, the composition of the molecules during chemical changes completely, resulting in a new substance. Therefore, the original substance during chemical change cannot be recovered. It is thus irreversible.

Furthermore, new substances always accompany a chemical change. As it is irreversible, it makes it a permanent change. Similarly, during any chemical change, energy like heat, sound or light gets produced.

Above all, if you look at the rate of energy absorption and evolution, you will notice that it is quite high. Chemical change alters both the physical and chemical properties of the element as well as its composition.

For instance, when we burn coal, chemical change happens as it turns into ash making it impossible to return to its original form.

Similarly, there is the process of rusting which prevents the object from returning to its earlier form. In addition, digestion of food, baking of cake, milk turning sour is all examples of chemical change.

In short, we see how both the changes differ from each other in so many ways. It is very significant to recognize the changes that happen around us. This difference between physical and chemical change will help us categorize them in their respective places.

Solved Question for You

Question– Which of the following is a physical change?

A. Boiling water
B. Rusting
C. Burning coal
D. Digesting food

Answer– The correct answer is option A. The rest is all chemical changes.

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