What is physical properties: Definition and 24 Discussions

A physical property is any property that is measurable, whose value describes a state of a physical system. The changes in the physical properties of a system can be used to describe its changes between momentary states. Physical properties are often referred to as observables. They are not modal properties. A quantifiable physical property is called physical quantity. Since all physical properties are measurable by definition, and being quantifiable means being able to be measured, then all physical properties can be referred to as physical quantities.
Physical properties are often characterized as intensive and extensive properties. An intensive property does not depend on the size or extent of the system, nor on the amount of matter in the object, while an extensive property shows an additive relationship. These classifications are in general only valid in cases when smaller subdivisions of the sample do not interact in some physical or chemical process when combined.
Properties may also be classified with respect to the directionality of their nature. For example, isotropic properties do not change with the direction of observation, and anisotropic properties do have spatial variance.
It may be difficult to determine whether a given property is a material property or not. Color, for example, can be seen and measured; however, what one perceives as color is really an interpretation of the reflective properties of a surface and the light used to illuminate it. In this sense, many ostensibly physical properties are called supervenient. A supervenient property is one which is actual, but is secondary to some underlying reality. This is similar to the way in which objects are supervenient on atomic structure. A cup might have the physical properties of mass, shape, color, temperature, etc., but these properties are supervenient on the underlying atomic structure, which may in turn be supervenient on an underlying quantum structure.
Physical properties are contrasted with chemical properties which determine the way a material behaves in a chemical reaction.

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  1. S

    B Examples of less popular pairs of physical properties with uncertainty (HUP)

    Position and momentum are the popular pairs of properties with uncertainty we often hear about, for example that we cannot know with precision where an electron is and its momentum at the same time. What are others? Such as an example of an energy and a time that we cannot know both...
  2. Unbreakabletoon

    I Exploring the Physical Properties of Human-Sized Worm Holes

    Hello Everyone in the forum: I have a theoretical question about Worm Holes. So for the sake of this question let's just assume we have the technology and the power source to fire up a small human size worm hole. My question would be regarding the edge of the worm hole. Would you be able to...
  3. H

    B The physical properties of diamonds: no melting point?

    I had heard an opinion from my high school teacher, but I can't understand?? "An experimental record of a French scientist. He heats the diamond and sublimates it. After cooling, it turns back to solid barbecue carbon. In this case, although there is a physical transition, the substance seems...
  4. dRic2

    Database for chemical and physical properties

    Do you know any website where I can find chemical and physical properties of common substance (heat capacity, enthalpy of formation, boiling point ecc...)? Thanks Ric
  5. N

    I Physical properties of a particle in Bohmian mechanics

    Are the physical properties of a particle spread out through the wave function in bohmian mechanics? This is from wikipedia "Also, unlike in classical mechanics, physical properties (e.g., mass, charge) are spread out over the wavefunction in de Broglie–Bohm theory, not localized at the position...
  6. Avatrin

    Physical properties of materials in the human body

    I am looking for resources on the physical properties of the various components that make up the human body. As an example of what I am looking for; If we look at the finger, we know it has bones, skins, nails, blood etc. What are the various physical properties of these different parts...
  7. Atominate

    Can you tell the Physical Properties of a Messier Object?

    Can you tell any physical properties of a Messier object by its name, such as M1 or M42? I know this may sound like a silly question, but I am doing an Astronomy GCSE and I thought that maybe there was a better way of just looking it up online and remembering it. Thanks.
  8. C

    Physical properties of frequency or regulation

    Are different electrical frequencies allocated to specific applications because of their properties or to regulate the spectrum so that each assigned frequency range is unique to one entity? I guess a related question is: Are we going higher in frequency ranges for things like automobile...
  9. trollcast

    Physical Properties Dimethyl ether vs ethanol

    Homework Statement Explain the difference in the following properties of dimethyl ether and ethanol: 1) Solubility in water 2) Rate of evaporation Homework Equations The Attempt at a Solution 1) Due to the oxygen being bonded to 2 carbon atoms none of the hydrogen atoms in the...
  10. P

    How Can Water's Chemical Structure Be Altered?

    I googled this and surprisingly no one seems to have an answer. What would have to be done to the water to make it change chemically?
  11. X

    What's the relation between chemical compositions and physical properties?

    Dear all, is the relation between chemical composition of a material and its physical properties a peering relation or a relation of subordination?
  12. S

    Enantiomer / Diastereomer Chemical and Physical Properties

    Alright so I know the common answer: Enantiomers - same chemical and physical properties Diastereomers - different chemical and physical properties In lecture, our professor said that enantiomers can have different biological effects. I was confused because, as he had said earlier, they have...
  13. S

    Physical properties & threshold frequency

    What effects do the physical properties (size of atom etc.) of an elemental metal have on the threshold frequency for that metal? I haven't been able to find a correlation between a physical property and the size of the threshold frequency myself; maybe I haven't looked hard enough, or maybe...
  14. T

    Physical properties of High-temperature reusable surface insulation tiles

    Hey, i am new to the forums and i have a question. I wouldn't consider this to be home work, because it is worth 10% of my first year score grade in physics. So it is a course work. I have to do a 10 min presentation on a material of my choice. I chose to do space shuttle tiles. So i was...
  15. S

    An egg is fried in a skillet, a chemical or physical properties?

    Please help urgent Please help, I have few questions 1.Natural gas burns with a yellow flame, a chemical or physical properties? 2.An egg is fried in a skillet, a chemical or physical properties? 3. When iron is dissovled into a acid. Has the iron atoms destroyed? Give answers with...
  16. B

    Calculate the physical properties of a Bohr atom

    Homework Statement What is the radius of the n=1 orbit in C^5+ ? What is the energy of the electron in that orbit? What is the wavelength of the radiation emitted by C^5+ in the lyman alpha transition Homework Equations 1/lambda=R*(1/(n^2)-1/(m^2) )...
  17. fargoth

    Looking for the physical properties of the skin

    ive been searching through many biophysics and physiology books lately... but i haven't found anything useful... i want to find some explanations of the structure of the skin - but not the ones you'd get from biology books - i want equations that describe the impedance of each layer of the skin...
  18. J

    Physical properties of objects that orbit each other in the universe

    A question from my asronomy class... Given that we are able to measure positions, velocities and timescales of objects in our universe, what sort of physical properties can we determine for objects that orbit each other in the universe? I have tried reading through my textbook for ideas...
  19. T

    Physical Properties of Metals: Melting Point, Solubility, and Conductivity

    does metals has the following? Qns. high melting point, insoluble in water, conduct electricity in solid and liquid. may i know what's the physical properties of covalent compound? do they have low melting point? does ionic compound has high melting point ? can somebody correct...
  20. R

    Transparency, Reflection, & EM Rays: Exploring Physical Properties

    What is the factor that determines whether an object will be transparent, translucent, or opaque? Also, what makes reflecting surfaces reflect EM rays?
  21. E

    Isotopes of an element differ in physical properties

    Im stuck on this question. Isotopes of an element differ in physical properties but not chemical properties. Explain this in terms of structure. I know isotopes have the same number of protons and diff neutrons, but don't know how to answer the question. Thanks!
  22. V

    Molecular Polarities and Physical Properties of Molecules

    Experiments show that rubbing an acetate strip with cotton imparts a negative charge to the strip. what are some of the attraction of some of the liquid streams to the charged strip. (The liquids being: water, 2-propanol, acetone) other experiments shown that a positively charged strip...
  23. C

    Basic question regarding triple point of water and physical properties of water

    Just a quick question about a homework I have been set this week! One of the questions is to say what the triple point is on a PVT diagram when it is a point on a PT diagram. Is it still a point or is it a line? Also, we have to state what physical property of water is different from that...
  24. E

    Physical properties to the nanoparticles

    What gives the different physical properties to the nanoparticles than the bulk ones? what is the limit? is it also possible to prepare pico-particles. I don't see too much difference.