Chemical Properties of Matter explained with Examples

len Alfred Ajibola - Mon, 20th January, 2020 @ 13:20: PM

Topics in Chemistry

Le Chatelier's Principle: Changes in concentration and pressure in dynamic equilibrium Chemical Equilibrium: Dynamic Equilibrium in Chemistry Static and Dynamic Equilibrium explained with their Differences Chemistry Scheme of Work, SS1, First Term Chemistry Scheme of Work, SS1, Second Term Chemistry Scheme of Work, SS1, Third Term Compounds in Chemistry: Characteristics of Compounds Types of Mixture: Homogenous and Heterogeneous Mixtures Mixtures: Characteristics of Mixtures Physical Properties of Matter explained with Examples Chemical Properties of Matter explained with Examples Differences between Physical and Chemical Change Ionic Theory and Electrolysis Physical and Chemical Properties of Acids States of Matter: Characteristics of Solids Liquid State of Matter: Characteristics of Liquids Gaseous State of Matter: Characteristics of Gases Molar Mass, Worked Examples and Differences with Molecular Mass Elements: Characteristics of Elements Salts and Types of Salt in Chemistry

Academic Questions in Chemistry

Please check out our Test Your Knowledge page to see all Questions and Answers

Which of the following isn't an element of the periodic table.

  • A. J

  • B. Y

  • C. W

  • D. B

  • E. U

  • F. K

According to the periodic table, elements in the same group have got the same number of shells.

  • A. True

  • B. False

The periodic table of elements is also called the Mendeleev's table.

  • A. True

  • B. False

The simplest formula of a compound is termed _____.

  • A. Emperical formula

  • B. Molecular formula

  • C. Avogadro's number

  • D. Mass formula

  • E. Molar mass formula

  • F. Mole ratio

A compound composed of iron (Fe) and oxygen (O) was analyzed and found to contain 69.94% iron and 30.06% oxygen. Find the empirical formula of the compound. (Molar mass of Fe=55.85, O=16)

  • A. FeO

  • B. Fe2O3

  • C. Fe3O4

  • D. FeO2

  • E. Fe3O6

  • F. Fe2O4

Which of the following statement is false concerning hydrocarbons?

  • A. Hydrocarbons can be aromatic

  • B. Hydrocarbons are made up of carbon and hydrogen only

  • C. Alkynes are aliphatic hydrocarbons

  • D. Alkenes have a carbon-carbon double bond in their structure

  • E. Benzene ring has a carbon-carbon triple bond in its structure

  • F. Hydrocarbons are the main constituents of petroleum and natural gas

The ability of carbon to form long chain of itself is called _____.

  • A. Carbon chain reaction

  • B. Catenation

  • C. Carbontion

  • D. Carbontion

  • E. Organic chemistry

  • F. Carbon moleculation

Calculate the relative molecular mass of methane. (Carbon = 12.001, H = 1.00794).

  • A. 13.00894 amu

  • B. 11.00206 amu

  • C. 12.00794 amu

  • D. 14.001 amu

  • E. 15.001 amu

  • F. 16.033 amu



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Chemical Properties of Matter:

All forms of matter (whether visible or invisible to the human eyes) will always have their unique physical and chemical properties.

Please read on the Concept of Matter here.

Chemical properties of matter are those features or characteristics of matter that describes the ability of matter to form new substances through chemical reactions.

You can read on the Physical Properties of Matter here.

The term chemical property is ascribed to matter whenever it undergoes a change to form an entirely new substance. Such change is referred to as a chemical change.

Please read on the DIFFERENCES between Physical and Chemical Change here.

Note: Understanding the chemical properties of matter is an important part of Chemistry. In fact Chemistry is defined as the study of matter and the changes they undergo.

Please read on Physical Change and Chemical Change explained here.

Using iron as an instance, one of its chemical properties will be its ability to react with oxygen and water leading to the formation of rust. The point to remember here is:

Iron has a chemical property called oxidation; and oxidation of iron refers to it's reaction with oxygen and water to form rust.

It important to state that the rust formed from iron in the above instance is entirely different from iron. It is these differences in the chemical composition of substances that make up their specific chemical properties.

Please read on the Physical and Chemical Properties of Acids here.

Below are some explanations on the chemical properties of matter:

1. Oxidation and Reduction

Oxidation and Reduction are important concepts in chemical reactions.

In simple words, Oxidation is the loss of electron(s) while Reduction is the gain of electron(s). Both processes (oxidation and reduction) occurs simultaneously in a reaction; and such reactions are termed as Redox reactions.

For instance, in the formation of rust, iron (Fe) is oxidized into rust because it loses it's electrons to another element (oxygen & water in this case). At the same time, water is reduced during this reaction because it gained electrons from iron. This is a redox reaction and it's summarized in the equation below:

Iron + Oxygen (from the atmosphere) dissolved in Water -> Iron Oxide (Rust)

4Fe(s) + 6H2O(l) -> 2Fe2O3 + 6H2

Iron (III) Oxide is the IUPAC name for Fe2O3 (rust) because its oxidation number had increased from +2 to +3 after it gave out (or donated) electrons to water molecules containing oxygen.

Please read more on the Concepts of Ions and Electrolytes here.

Note: The substance that donates electron(s) during a chemical reaction are termed reducing agents or reductant or reducer while that while that that accept electron(s) are termed oxidizing agents, or oxidant or oxidizer.

In redox reactions, the oxidizing agents are always reduced while the reducing agents are always oxidized. Iron, the reducing agent in the above instance was oxidized to rust.

2. Acidity

Acidity is the level of acid in a substance.

Acids can be defined in a variety of ways. They also have their specific physical properties and chemical properties.

Please read more on the Concept and Definitions of Acid here.

3. Burning

Burning is often referred to as combustion, although they aren't exactly the same thing. For instance, burning will always be accompanied with flames why combustion has no flame in its reaction.

Burning refers to an exothermic reaction (one that gives out heat) between a reducing agent (acting as fuel) and an oxidizing agent (typically oxygen). Flames are always seen during burning.

Without oxygen, burning will not occur. Similarly, without the substance to be burnt (fuel), burning will also not occur).

During burning, the reducing agent (fuel) is oxidized into a gaseous-like mixture referred to as smoke.

Please read on Gaseous State of Matter and their Characteristics here.

Note: Whatever undergoes burning will change into a new substance; and that's a chemical change.

You can read on Elements and their Characteristics here.

4. Chemical Reactions

Chemical reaction is the basis of the changes we see around us. In short, Chemistry is the study of matter and the changes they undergo.

A chemical reaction is said to occur when one or more substances (referred to as the reactants) are converted to one or more substances called the products through the rearrangement of their molecular or ionic structures.

You can read on Molecular Mass and Relative Molecular Mass here.

A chemical reaction brings about the rearrangement of the constituent atoms of the reactants in order to create a product with a different atomic structure.

Please read more on Dalton's Atomic Theory and its Modifications here.

5. Heat of Combustion

When substances undergo burning, heat is realeased. This makes heat an observable feature of burning.

You can read on the Concepts of Heat and Temperature here.

The heat of combustion is simply defined as the amount of heat released when a specific mass or volume of a substance is burned completely.

Note: The value dervived from heat of combustion is always negative. This is so because reactions that releases the heat of combustion are exothermic.

6. Enthalpy of Formation

The enthalpy of formation is also referred to as the heat of formation. A chemical change is always associated with the heat of formation because a new thing is formed after a chemical reaction had taken place.

The enthalpy of formation is defined as the change in heat released or absorbed during the the formation of one mole of the substance from its constituent elements at standard temperature (298K) and pressure (1 atm).

Note: The Standard International (SI) unit for enthalpy (or heat) of formation is KJ/mol.

7. Flammability

The flammability of a substance is a chemical property of matter and it refers to the ability of a substance to catch and sustain fire.

Substances made up of carbon are always flammable, for example, wood, plastic and rubber. In addition, fuels like korosene, petrol and methane (cooking gas) are considered to be highly flammable.

Please read more on the introduction to Hydrocarbons here.

Flammability Test is a procedure used in determining the ease or difficulty at which a material or finished product will ignite (or burn) when placed in a close range to fire or heat.

8. Toxicity

This is the degree to which a substance can harm living organisms. Such substances are referred to as toxic. Example of toxic substances include Hydrogen Sulphide (H2S) and Carbon monoxide (CO).

Please read on the Characteristics of Living Organisms here.

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Alfred Ajibola is a Medical Biochemist, a passionate Academician with over 7 years of experience, a Versatile Writer, a Web Developer, a Cisco Certified Network Associate and a Cisco CyberOps Associate.

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Amazing facts in Chemistry

The only letters that failed to appear on the periodic table are letters:

J     &     Q

Gold and copper are the only two non-silvery colored metals.

Copper is the only metal that is naturally antibacterial. For this reason, some children utilize 'copper water bottles' in schools

Water freezes faster when it’s warm than when it’s cold

Most element in their pure state exists physically in different forms. For instance, pure carbon can exist as both diamond and graphite. This phenomenon is called allotropy

If you pour a handful of salt into a full glass of water, the water level will go down rather than overflowing the glass.

Similarly, if you mix half liter of water and half litre of alcohol, the total volume of the liquid will be les than one litre


In chemistry, hydrocarbons can be classified as either aliphatic or aromatic. Recently, both classifications of hydrocarbon were based on their structure rather than their origin.

Aliphatic hydrocarbons are put into three main groups according to the types of bonds they possess. These are:

  1. Alkanes

  2. Alkenes

  3. Alkynes

They are shown in the image below:

Alkanes, Alkenes and Alkynes - Len Academy

It's important to note the followings:

  • Alkanes have single bonds (only) in their structures.

  • Alkenes always have a carbon-carbon double bond present in their structure.

  • Alkynes always have a carbon-carbon triple bond present in their structure.


Aromatic hydrocarbons are classified into:

  • Arenes: They contain benzene ring as a structural unit. Below is the structure of a benzene ring.

Benzene Ring - Len Academy


  • Nonbenzenoid aromatic hydrocarbons: They possess special stability but lack a benzene ring as a structural unit.

Organic chemistry is the study of carbon and it's compounds.

Carbon is the focus of organic chemistry because it has a wide chemical diversity in the sense that it can combine with other carbon atoms to form a long chain of carbon molecule. This ability and process whereby carbon can form a long chain of itself is called catenation.

Please read the introduction to organic chemistry here

A major challenge encountered when calculating molecular mass is that it becomes difficult or impossible to calculate especially when the relative molecular mass of large molecules, polymers and macromolecules are involved.

Examples of large molecules (with indefinite molecular masses) include carbohydrates, cellulose and complex sugars.

The large molecules (above) have no specific chemical formula throughout their volume.

Please read more on carbohydrates and sugars here

Understand that Relative Molecular Mass prove to be useful only when we calculate substances with small and definite molecular sizes. This was proven through the modifications of Dalton's atomic theory.

Please read on Dalton's atomic theory and its modifications here.

Calculate the Relative Molecular Mass of methane (CH4). (Carbon=12.001 and H=1.00794)

  • Molecular Mass = Atomic mass of carbon + Atomic mass of Hydrogen

  • Methane is composed of one atom of Carbon and 4 atoms of Hydrogen.

  • 12.001 + (1.00794 x 4)

Molecular Mass of Methane = 16.033 amu

Please read more on molecular mass here

Calculate the Relative Molecular Mass of water (H2O). (Oxygen=15.9994 and Hydrogen=1.00794)

  • Molecular Mass = Atomic mass of Hydrogen + Atomic mass of Oxygen

  • Water contains 2 atoms of Hydrogen and 1 atom of oxygen.

  • (1.00794 x 2) + 15.9994

Molecular Mass of Water = 18.015 Da

Please read on emperical formula and its calculations here

Gold - Len Academy

Below are some facts about gold:

  • It is the only metal that has a gold (golden) color

  • Gold is present inside the earth crust in all the seven continents

  • Pure gold is soft and very stretchable (It can even be stretched into threads)

  • The Latin name of Gold is aurum which means 'shining dawn'. For this reason, its chemical symbol is 'Au'

  • Gold is a very good conductor of electricity. This is why it’s sometimes used in making USB and audio cables

  • Gold is non toxic and can be eaten with food. It is sometimes added to desserts in some expensive restaurants

  • The term Gold originated from an ancient English word 'geolu' which means yellow

  • 24karat gold is the purest gold element

Please read more interesting facts about gold here