chemical properties of matter

what are chemical properties

Chemical properties are properties that can be measured or observed only when matter undergoes a change to become an entirely different kind of matter. For example, the ability of iron to rust can only be observed when iron actually rusts. When it does, it combines with oxygen to become a different substance called iron oxide. Iron is very hard and silver in color, whereas iron oxide is flakey and reddish brown. Besides the ability to rust, other chemical properties include reactivity and flammability.


Reactivity is the ability of matter to combine chemically with other substances. Some kinds of matter are extremely reactive; others are extremely unreactive. For example, potassium is very reactive, even with water. When a pea- sized piece of potassium is added to a small amount of water, it reacts explosively. You can observe this reaction in the video below. (Caution: Dont try this at home!) In contrast, noble gases such as helium almost never react with any other substances. Click image to the left or use the URL below. URL:


Flammability is the ability of matter to burn. When matter burns, it combines with oxygen and changes to different substances. Wood is an example of flammable matter, as seen in Figure 1.1. Q: How can you tell that wood ashes are a different substance than wood? A: Ashes have different properties than wood. For example, ashes are gray and powdery, whereas wood is brown and hard. Q: What are some other substances that have the property of flammability? A: Substances called fuels have the property of flammability. They include fossil fuels such as coal, natural gas, and petroleum, as well as fuels made from petroleum, such as gasoline and kerosene. Substances made of wood, such as paper and cardboard, are also flammable.


instructional diagrams

No diagram descriptions associated with this lesson


which metal has the ability to rust?

a) gold

b) copper

-->  c) iron

d) aluminum

helium is more reactive than magnesium.

a. true

-->  b. false

which of these metals is least likely to be involved in chemical reactions?

-->  a) gold

b) copper

c) tin

d) iron

rust has the same properties as iron.

a. true

-->  b. false

which of these substances is least flammable?

a) cardboard

b) paper

c) charcoal

-->  d) steel

diagram questions

No diagram questions associated with this lesson