What is Physical Change?
Physical change is a chemical reaction that alters a substance’s composition or form. It allows mixtures to separate into their component compounds. Without physical change, compounds cannot be broken down into their component chemical elements or simpler substances. Physical change can be reversible or irreversible. Let’s look at a few common examples to understand this process further.
Chemical change produces new substances.
The process of chemical change produces new substances by modifying the original composition of matter. This alteration may be due to adding new elements or removing elements from the original substance. The most common chemical change is the combustion, which releases carbon dioxide and water as byproducts. However, other processes, such as decomposition and photosynthesis, can also change the composition of substances.
One example of a chemical change is cooking an egg. This alters the protein structure in the egg. Other examples of chemical changes include respiration and fermentation. These changes involve the breaking and forming a bond, resulting in a new substance.
The physical change affects only the physical properties of a substance.
A physical change occurs when a substance changes its physical properties. For example, tempering steel changes its hardness and flexibility and makes it easier to maintain a sharp edge. Physical changes often involve the rearrangement of atoms and the formation of crystals. Physical changes are challenging to reverse and are usually induced by motion, temperature, or pressure. Moreover, physical changes may change a substance’s odor, color, or other properties.
A physical change involves the change of the shape, color, texture, strength, and density of a substance. It is different from a chemical change, which involves energy formation. Physical changes change the state and properties of a substance but do not alter its chemical makeup. In contrast, chemical changes change the substance’s composition, forming a new substance.
It can be reversed
A change in a substance’s chemical makeup produces a different substance in chemistry. An example is when water and sodium react to sodium hydroxide and hydrogen. The resulting substance is entirely different from the original. In principle, you can reverse a chemical reaction, but it cannotaccessibleeasy in practice.
Physical change is more easily reversed than chemical change, but not all physical changes are reversible. The change in a chemical substance can only be reversed by changing it back to its original state. For example, freezing water does not change back into water, but burning a log cannot change it back into the wood.
Physical changes can be reversed in many cases. Some can be reversible, such as changing chocolate from a solid to a liquid. Other examples of irreversible changes are the burning of paper or food, the rusting of iron, and the growth of a plant. Physical changes can also be reversed through the cooling process.
It is irreversible
Physical change is a process that changes a physical property of a substance. This change can be of various types, including color, size, reflectivity, refractive index, strength, shape, odor, and spectrum. Not all physical changes are irreversible, however. Some physical changes can be reversed, such as compression and expansion.
For example, chopping a piece of wood does not change the identity of the wood. A similar phenomenon occurs when a rock is pulverized. Another example of a physical change is cutting a piece of wood for a fire. A small change in the conditions can result in the process’s reversal, but the substance’s mass remains unchanged. A high probability of reversibility exists, however.
Physical changes are reversible whereas chemical changes are not. In contrast to chemical changes, physical changes change the substance’s physical properties. The substance changes its chemical composition in chemical changes, but the physical characteristics remain unchanged. Examples of chemical changes include melting water into ice or steam and rusting or rotting materials.
It occurs on a smaller scale.
Physical change is changing a material’s shape, size, or phase without destroying it. Examples include crumpling paper, shaving, melting wax, and grinding metal. Physical changes can be reversible or irreversible. In many cases, a physical change will accompany a chemical change.
For example, cooking an egg will rearrange its proteins. On the other hand, chemical changes change the substance’s composition by combining or breaking it up. This process can also help us recover salt that has dissolved in water. However, physical changes occur on a smaller scale and involve changes to a substance’s physical properties. Physical changes can also result in a substance’s melting point, transition to a gas, or change in texture and color.