Difference Between Physical and Chemical Change
The units of material are naturally arranged in a certain way. If a certain form of energy or pressure is applied to the object, its arrangement will change to some extent depending on the severity of the force applied to it. Sometimes this alteration can be reversed in cases where the gravity is low; but if it is not, it can cause irreparable changes, transforming the substance into an entirely new form.
As long as there is a level of modification in an article, it can be said that a reaction has taken place. It can be physical or chemical, depending on the duration of the modification. In most cases, when no new material is formed as a result of the reaction, it can be classified as first. But if there is an entirely new creation resulting from the process, then it is referred to as the last one.
In the course of this article, we will go into more detail about the difference between physical and chemical change. But before we do that, we will look at their definitions and the cases where such variations have taken place. Then we will explain in detail how they vary from each other.
Definition of Physical Change
A physical modification is defined as a type of adjustment of a substance that does not necessarily produce an entirely new element. The severity of this type of modification is minimal and, as such, does not destroy the basic structure of the elements of the material in question. It may result in a difference in the appearance of the material, but that is all it can do.
To better explain how these two terms compare to each other, let’s look at the properties that make up the difference between chemical and physical change. Below is a list of the type of results you should expect from this type of event.
The texture of a material can be changed, but this will not make the material less good than it is. For example, if you file a piece of rough wood to get a smooth finish, the texture will become finer than it was before, but the wood will still be wood.
A very good example of the difference between a physical change and chemical change is that of the different states of water. Water can be liquid, gaseous or solid depending on the temperature. These are all the different forms it can take while remaining true to its basic components.
Let’s take the example of a wooden box. It has a definite shape. If you decide to break the box and maybe use it for something else, this will change the shape of the box, but it will not affect the basic properties that make it wooden.
If you dye your hair, does that stop it from being your hair? The answer is no. It is obvious that there have been variations in the appearance of your hair color, but that hasn’t taken away the properties and the fact that your hair has certain properties.
The application of thermal pressure to a substance may result in some differences. For example, when you apply heat to a piece of metal for a period of time, it will feel warm to the touch, and this is what you should watch for.
You may not see the metal take on a different shape or color (which is more pleasing to the eye), but somehow some reactions have caused it to become hotter than usual. When the heat is removed, the metal returns to its normal state without damage.
Note that the resulting effects listed above are the most you can expect from this type of weathering in terms of the difference between chemical and physical changes. Anything beyond this can be considered to be beyond the limits and can no longer be classified as this type of alteration.
Definition of Chemical Change
A chemical change is a process that alters the arrangement of a member due to exposure to certain bond-breaking factors. Basically, when a particular substance goes through a process that invariably causes a change in the arrangement of its atoms, that substance is said to have undergone such a process. This is the basic point that defines the differences between chemical and physical changes – the effect resulting from the configuration of the material in question.
The most common properties, in this case, are the following:
If an odorless compound begins to produce a certain form of odor, it means that there is a change in its basic alignment. This is usually the result of a reaction with other compounds. An example is a rotten egg.
- Formation of precipitates
This is one of the most remarkable factors that answer the question – “what is the difference between chemical and physical change?”. It indicates that a fundamental alteration occurs in a substance. When the solid matter begins to form inside a liquid or other solid, a chemical reaction takes place.
In some cases, the formation of bubbles can lead to an irreversible change in the substance. This may be due to an increase in temperature. In addition to bubble formation, the irreversibility of the state is also another effect of the force of heat on the arrangement of material. This is one of the differences between physical and chemical changes that compare closely with each other.
- Color difference
This indicator works both ways. Some say it is not really a difference between physical and chemical changes but when observed closely, it does, depending on the type of object in question. Take rust, for example. This process manipulates the color of the metal, but at the same time, it changes the properties of the object, making it somewhat different from metal.
There are many other indicators that show when a material has gone through this type of process, but these are the basic indicators that can tell you the difference between a physical and chemical change as it relates to the matter.
Physical vs Chemical Change Comparison Table
|Basis of Comparison
|The adjustment of a substance that does not necessarily produce an entirely new element. The seriousness of this type of modification is minimal and as such does not destroy the basic configuration of the elements of the article in question.
|A process that changes the conformation of a material due to exposure to certain fracture factors. Gravity is high and can destroy the basic components of the original body.
|The result is reversible, which means the original item can be recovered.
|Here, the result is irreversible and the original article cannot be recovered.
|Effect on molecules
|The item stays true to its molecular structure.
|An entirely new form is formed and the molecular structure is altered.
|Freezing water, cutting wood, coloring hair, cutting a piece of cardboard, molding with clay, etc.
|Burning wood, cooking raw eggs, roasting corn, digesting food, curd formation, aging, etc.
|Little to no form required to complete this process
|A substantial quantity is always required
Conclusion of the Main Difference Between Physical vs Chemical Change
The table above is an elaboration to answer the question – “what is the difference between physical and chemical change?”. Definition, effects, examples, and results are all included in both cases.
Here are some key points that can be drawn from all of this:
- Be careful while carrying out any of the experiments with regard to these processes. If you want to avoid permanent damage, make sure you don’t use heat on a substance to the point of damaging its molecular composition.
- The simplest way of answering the question – “what is the difference between a chemical and physical change?” is to refer to the effect of both phenomena on the alignment of matter; whether or not the object can be inverted to return it to its original shape. If you look more closely, you will notice that many things that happen around us on a daily basis can be classified in one or the other of these categories.
- When there is physical alteration, little or no energy is required. This is why it does not result in a total rearrangement of its molecular structure. The same is not true for the chemical process where there must be a reasonable amount of energy present to cause a fundamental change in the molecular structure of a material.
- Certain properties such as temperature and color variation apply to both types of modification. They are the result of the properties of the energy used in the process.
From everything that has been explained about these two processes, it is easy to tell when one of these terms occurs. We have tried to answer the question “what is the difference between a physical change and a chemical change?” as can be seen in the definitions, properties and illustration in the table.