Difference between Physical Change and Chemical Change

Difference between Physical Change and Chemical Change

There is a famous quote by Heraclitus,

“Change is the only Constant.”

This entire universe is working on the single concept that is Change. From seed to tree, from a baby to older man, flow of river and wind, climate change, passing of time and so on; in your surroundingeverything is showing change.

We can observe the change in matter.

Now, what is matter?

Matter is everything around you. Particles, atoms and compounds everything is made up by matter. Any substance that has mass and takes up space (volume taken by object or substance), known as Matter.

Matter is divided into three categories:

  • Solid
  • Liquid and
  • Gas

We all can sense the matter that is happening around us. But there are so many kinds of changes continuously happening in the universe. Some changes are measurable, some are not; some changes are visible; restaren’t; some are sensible and others are not.

For identifying the category of change and to bring more clarity, change can be divided into two categories:

  • Physical Change
  • Chemical Change

Physical Changes:-

We all can see physical changes in the things around us.

For instance, a child becomes tall, boiling water and evaporation, water, freezing water, melting of metal, breaking and cutting glass, crushing bottle, chopping vegetables and so on.

All these changes are physical changes.

PhysicalChanges can be defined as the changes that occur in the physical appearance of the matter, but the chemical composition of matter remains constant.It means in physical changes, change happens in the physical properties of matter.

Change in size, shape, colour, volume, quantity, density, texture, durability change, changes in the form, change of strength etc., all these changes represent the change in physical properties.

In physical changes no new substance is formed and no chemical reaction take place. All the chemical components of matter remains same. It means the chemical properties are same for initial compounds and final compounds.

Examples of physical changes in everyday life:-

In physical change, changing the state of the substance between solid, liquid and gaseous phase. But the actual identity of matter does not change. Physical changes do not evolve the change in chemical properties.

To make physical changes more simple and clear here are some common examples in everyday life:

  • Shredding of paper
  • Dying of cloth and paper
  • Freezing of water and melting of ice cube
  • Boiling of water
  • Vaporization of water
  • Cutting of glass
  • Crystallization of sugar
  • Evaporating alcohol

Chemical Changes:-

When the changes occur in the composition of compound and the chemical properties of compound also change, this kind of change is known as ChemicalChange.

In chemical changes, chemical reaction takes place and form a new compound. The new compound contains different properties than the original or pure compound.

Changes in substance are the result of rearrangement of atoms and formation of new chemical bonds among atoms. The starting substance and final substance have different chemical properties.

Examples of chemical changes:-

We can see chemical changes in our everyday life. In the process of cooking food, rotting, burning and digestion in our body; all are the chemical changes.

Let’s see examples of chemical change in detail:

  • Process of making food
  • Burning of wood and coal
  • Souring of milk
  • Mixing of two different compounds (mix acidic solution into base)
  • Digestion of food in every creature
  • Rusting of iron
  • Rusting is the process of demolish the iron due to the oxygen in the environment.

Distinguish between Physical and Chemical changes:-

Very basic and important differences between them are given below:

S. No.Physical ChangesChemical Changes
1Physical change is the change occurs in physical properties.When change occurs in chemical properties, is Chemical Change.
2In this case, Chemical properties of compound remain unchanged.Here Physical properties remain constant.
3There is no formation of new compound.New compound forms due to chemical reaction.
4These changes can be seen and measurable like temperature, volume, mass etc.These changes can not see by eyes because it occur due to formation of new chemical bonds.
5Initial and final products have identical chemical composition.Initial product and final product after chemical reaction have different composition.
6Many physical changes are reversible, if enough energy is supplied.The change is difficult to reverse. It is generally irreversible.
7It is a temporary change.It is permanent.
8Generally there is no involvement of production of energy.Usually in chemical changes energy release in form of heat, light, bubbles, smoke or sound.
9Change in size, shape, volume, mass, density all are the physical properties.Change in odour, colour, or sometimes temperature; all are the chemical properties.
10Examples: Melting, boiling, freezing, dyingetc.Examples: Cooking, rotting, burning, rusting etc.

Indications for physical and chemical changes:-

For physical changes:

For identify the physical changes, observe the change in physical state or property.

Change in volume, shape, size, weight, length, temperature; all these show the physical change.

For chemical changes:

In chemical changes, chemical properties of compound have changed, so that to identify the change is chemical or not, here are some indications of chemical changes:

The colour of final product has changed.

  • Odour may be produced.
  • Gas is produced so in liquids bubbles may form.
  • It releasing smoke.
  • Sometimes light and sound produce.
  • Energy may release in form of temperature.


Change is the necessity of existence. Without change the universe, this planet can not survive. In fact it will end.

The space and time is nothing but just change.

So in your surroundings, observe the change and also noticewhich one change it is Physical or Chemical.