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Difference Between Physical Change and Chemical Change

Main Difference

In our daily lives, we encounter hundreds of changes that changes can even be in the society or different materials. The changes in the matter we experience can be of two types; physical change or the chemical change. The change in the physical traits of matter like color, density, and volume is known as the physical change, whereas the change in the internal structure, which leads to the formation of the new chemical substance is called chemical change. The other major difference between both these changes is that the physical change is the reversible change and the matter or the object can get back to its original condition, on the other hand, a chemical change is irreversible as the change in the internal structure leads to the formation of the new product.

Comparison Chart

BasisPhysical ChangeChemical Change
DefinitionPhysical change is the change in the physical properties of the object for example change in shape, size, and volume.Chemical change is the change in the internal composition of the object and it results in the formation of the new product.
TimePhysical change is usually the rapid change.The process of chemical change can be a time taking process.
ProductIn physical change, change in shape or size of the object may take place, but no new products are formed.In a chemical change, new products are formed.
NatureThe objects we get with a physical change can get back to its original form as it is a reversible process.The objects we get with chemical change can’t get back in the original form as it is an irreversible process.
Energy absorption or evolutionThe absorption or evolution of energy doesn’t take place in physical change.The absorption or evolution of energy takes place in the chemical change as the chemical reaction takes place in this change.
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What is Physical Change?

Physical change is the change in the physical traits like shape, size, and volume of an object. This type of change may also face change in temperature or the rearrangement of atoms of the object although the chemical composition of the object remains the very same. This change is a rapid change, and the object can get reversed back to the original form easily. The change in shape and size of the object are some of the prominent features of this type of change, but the new product is never formed. The transformed object can be totally different in shape or size, but the chemical composition remains the very same. The rearrangement of the molecules takes place in the physical change, which is often interpreted as the symptoms of chemical change. But they aren’t as no change comes in the internal structure of the object.

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Example of Physical Change

The freezing of water to become ice is one of the best examples of physical change. The change in the physical properties of the object like shape, size, and volume takes place but in both the conditions the chemical composition of the object remains the same.

What is Chemical Change?

A chemical change is a change occurring in the internal structure of the matter. The change leads to the formation of the new product. The new product formed have different chemical function and chemical properties than their constituents. When the chemical change takes place the atoms of the object are rearranged or combined in such a way that chemical composition of the product gets changed. The original substances or the constituents in the chemical change are known as the reactants. The outcome of the reaction between the reactant is called product. The chemical change is a complex process that requires more time than the physical change. Once the change takes place, it can’t be reversed or brought back to the original position. The change in the energy and temperature are two of the prominent signs of chemical change. The chemical reaction takes place in the chemical change. Therefore, the evolution of energy is a compulsory process; the energy can either be absorbed or released, it depends on the type of chemical reaction taking place.

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Example of Chemical Change

The making of an omelet is a physical change, the egg and other spices are the reactants in the case, which lead to the formation of omelet in the presence of the heat. The change in temperature and chemical composition takes place in this case, and the newly formed product omelet cannot be reversed back to its original form.

Key Differences

  1. Physical change is the change in the physical properties of the object for example change in shape, size, and volume, whereas chemical change is the change in the internal composition of the object and it results in the formation of the new product.
  2. Physical change is usually the rapid change while the process of chemical change can be a time taking process.
  3. In a chemical change, new products are formed, whereas in physical change, change in shape or size of the object may take place, but no new products are formed.
  4. The objects we get with a physical change can get back to its original form as it is a reversible process while the objects we get with chemical change can’t get back in the original form as it is an irreversible process.
  5. The absorption or evolution of energy doesn’t take place in physical change, whereas the absorption or evolution of energy takes place in the chemical change as the chemical reaction takes place in this change.

Comparison Video

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Harlon Moss

Harlon currently works as a quality moderator and content writer for Difference Wiki. He graduated from the University of California in 2010 with a degree in Computer Science. Follow him on Twitter @HarlonMoss