Basic chemistry

Chemical properties of matter: characteristics and examples

What is the chemical property of matter?

A chemical property is an ability of a chemical substance to undergo, due to its composition, a chemical change capable of producing a new substance, different from the previous one.

For example, the oxidation of iron by the action of oxygen and water produces an oxide. This is a completely different chemical compound than the substances that reacted with each other to produce it.

Chemical properties, unlike some physical properties, cannot be touched or viewed from the outside. A chemical reaction must occur that causes a chemical change in one or more substances. Otherwise, it cannot be detected.

For example, there are pills used as antacids with the chemical property of effervescence, that is, the ability to form bubbles. But this chemical property cannot be known unless the chemical reaction of the tablets with the water takes place.

List of Chemical properties of matter


oxidation and Chemical properties of matter

It is a chemical reaction in which the loss of electrons of a chemical element or compound occurs. This process is mediated by an oxidizing chemical agent, which is capable of capturing or trapping the electrons released by the oxidized substance.

An example of oxidation is the formation of iron oxide, a reddish-colored material produced by the oxidation of iron. And this is the reason why many substances, such as food, oxidize when exposed for a long time outdoors.

However, there will be substances, such as gold or certain plastics, that will hardly oxidize, so oxidizing will not count among their chemical properties.


combustion and Chemical properties of matter
The fact that paper burns much more easily than a piece of metal indicates a big difference in its chemical properties.

It is a chemical reaction where a substance burns in the presence of oxygen. The complete combustion of organic compounds (sugars, proteins, lipids, etc.) generates the gas carbon dioxide, and water.

Meanwhile, the incomplete combustion of fuels (gasoline) in vehicle engines can produce carbon, carbon monoxide, and hydrogen. Carbon monoxide is a very dangerous chemical compound, which can even be fatal.


ractivity as Chemical properties of matter

It is the ability to react to a substance with one or more other substances. The reactants are called reagents. Meanwhile, the substances that originate in the chemical reaction are called products.

There are very reactive chemical elements, for example, sodium, potassium, and cesium. In contrast, noble gases (argon, krypton, neon, etc.) are chemically inert.


toxicity as Chemical properties of matter

It is the ability of a substance to cause harm to live beings. There are particularly toxic substances, such as sodium cyanide, which have a fatal action. However, all substances are potentially toxic depending on the dose. Even water can be toxic.

For example, sodium chloride is used to season foods, but it can also cause high blood pressure and kidney damage if ingested improperly.

Chemical stability

Chemical stability
Chemical gold is stable

It is the resistance of a chemical element to participate in a chemical reaction. Precious metals, for example, gold, are very stable and resistant to chemical changes. In contrast, other metals, such as sodium, are very unstable and rapidly rust and corrode.



It is a chemical reaction of an acid with sodium carbonate or sodium bicarbonate, which produces the release of carbon dioxide gas, which rises to the surface of the water in the form of bubbles.

The tablets of certain commercial antacids have bicarbonate and acid in their structure, for example, citric acid. When these tablets dissolve in water, a reaction occurs between the indicated components, thus producing the release of carbon dioxide gas that forms the bubbles.



Radioactivity, although it is not a chemical reaction, has to do directly with the stability of the atomic nucleus to decompose and emit radiation of different energies as chemical properties of matter. Thus, we have radioactive substances, such as polonium and uranium, whose direct exposures are dangerous.


It is a chemical reaction in which an atom gains electrons, transferred by a reducing agent. Reduction is considered the opposite reaction to oxidation. An example of a reducing agent is glucose, a sugar present in many foods.

Glucose has chemical groups that can release electrons, which are captured by a chemical compound called potassium permanganate, which is reduced and changes from a purple to green color, which allows the chemical change to be detected as chemical properties of matter.

Thus, the reducing action of glucose is one of its chemical properties.


It is the property of certain substances to burn when they reach a favorable condition for it, both in temperature, pressure, and concentration. There are highly flammable substances, such as ethyl ether, that are capable of emitting vapors, which makes their use very dangerous.

However, there are substances whose vapors do not ignite even at high temperatures, such as water vapor.


It is an expression of an atom’s greed for electrons when they are part of a chemical compound (molecules). The greater the electronegativity of an atom, the greater its electron-scavenging capacity.

The high electronegativity of oxygen explains its participation in oxidation reactions. These electrons are captured by an electronegative atom, like oxygen.

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