Physical Property Definition

What Is a Physical Property in Chemistry?

Measuring cups
Volume is an examples of a physical property. huePhotography / Getty Images

Physical Property Definition

A physical property is defined as a characteristic of matter that may be observed and measured without changing the chemical identity of a sample. The measurement of a physical property may change the arrangement of matter in a sample, but not the structure of its molecules. In other words, a physical property may involve a physical change, but not a chemical change. If a chemical change or reaction occurs, the observed characteristics are chemical properties.

Intensive and Extensive Physical Properties

The two classes of physical properties are intensive and extensive properties. An intensive property does not depend on the amount of matter in a sample. It is a characteristic of the material. Examples include melting point and density. Extensive properties do depend on sample size. Examples of extensive properties include shape, volume, and mass.

Physical Property Examples

Examples of physical properties include mass, density, color, boiling point, temperature, and volume.