Chemical Property Definition and Examples

Learn About Chemical Properties of Matter

Flammability is a chemical property. PM Images/Getty Images

A chemical property is a characteristic or behavior of a substance that may be observed when it undergoes a chemical change or reaction. Chemical properties are seen either during or following a reaction since the arrangement of atoms within a sample must be disrupted for the property to be investigated. This is different from a physical property, which is a characteristic that may be observed and measured without changing the chemical identity of a specimen.

Examples of Chemical Properties

Examples of chemical properties of a substance can include:

  • toxicity
  • oxidation
  • flammability
  • heat of combustion
  • enthalpy of formation
  • chemical stability under specific conditions
  • radioactivity

Remember, a chemical change must occur for a chemical property to be observed and measured. For example, iron oxidizes and becomes rust. Rusting is not a property that can be described based on analysis of the pure element.

Uses of Chemical Properties

Chemical properties are of great interest to materials science. These characteristics help scientists classify samples, identify unknown materials, and purify substances.