What is the difference between a physical change and a chemical change? Give some examples of each.

+4 votes
asked May 21, 2012 in General Chemistry by Gummmys ~Expert~ (1,105 points)

1 Answer

+3 votes
A physical change is one that alters only the state/appearance but not the actual composition of the atoms.  Therefore the atoms maintain their identity during a physical change. Examples would include water boiling or freezing.

A chemical change on the other hand involves the change of composition of the atoms. During a chemical change, the atoms actually rearrange, transforming the substance into something different. An example of a chemical change would be iron rusting.
answered May 22, 2012 by kirby ~Expert~ (3,020 points)