Physical change is happening all around. Use these examples of physical changes to see how the look, feel, or display of different things changes daily.
50 Everyday Examples of Physical Changes
Definition of Physical Changes
Matter makes up everything we can see in the universe. Since matter is not ever created or destroyed, it changes form to cycle through the world. In science, physical changes of matter are when the look, feel, or smell of it changes, but the chemical properties do not.
Characteristics of Physical Changes
During a physical change, one or more physical properties, or characteristics, of the matter change. Physical properties include:
Physical Change vs. Chemical Change
Unlike many physical changes, many chemical changes are not visible. Chemical changes happen on a molecular level and alter the actual makeup of the matter. In order for a change to be only a physical change, by definition it can’t change chemical properties.
Examples of Physical Changes You See Every Day
You may not realize that you see examples of physical change every day. Think about how you might change the look or feel of different items without altering their chemical makeup.
Everyday Examples of Physical Changes With Water
The physical changes of water are easy to see at home, at work, or even in nature.
An ice cube melting into water in your drink
Freezing water to make ice cubes
Boiling water evaporating
Hot shower water turning to steam
Steam from the shower condensing on a mirror
Common Examples of Physical Changes in Your Kitchen
Your kitchen is one of the most common places you probably see physical changes happen on a regular basis.
Crushing an empty milk carton
Boiling pasta to make it soft
Dissolving sugar in your coffee
Shaking up a bottle of Italian dressing
Thawing raw meat
Chopping a vegetable into pieces
Dissolving a drink mix into water
Adding milk to cereal
Sharpening a knife
Freezing juice into popsicles
Adding food dye to white icing
Coloring Easter eggs
Mixing fruits in a fruit salad
Letting gelatin set in the fridge
Typical Examples of Physical Changes Outdoors
Natural elements like the sun and precipitation can alter the physical properties of natural and manmade objects. You might even cause some outdoor physical changes yourself.
A plastic chair’s color fading
Mixing dirt and water to make mud
Icicles forming on the edge of your roof
Mowing the lawn
Tying a rope in a knot
Trimming a bush
Examples of Physical Changes You See Often
From crafts and cleaning to personal appearance, these physical changes are fairly common.
Deconstructing a box after a delivery
Cutting an old credit card into pieces
Cutting your hair
Sharpening a pencil
Crocheting yarn into a blanket
Cutting an old t-shirt
Dyeing your hair
Trimming your dog's nails
Folding a paper to fit in an envelope
Examples of Irreversible Physical Changes
Irreversible changes are changes that you cannot undo to put the item back in its original state.
Breaking a glass
Chalk getting smaller after use
Cracking an egg
Mixing paint colors
See All the Changes
Small physical changes are happening all the time, all around you. Sometimes you cause the changes, and sometimes they are part of natural processes. What physical changes have you seen today?