A characteristic property refers to a property pertaining to a substance or element that is used to identify or classify it. These properties can be either chemical or physical properties. Some physical properties of an element or substance are density, boiling point, color and malleability.
Chemical properties include the flammability and oxidation of a substance. Characteristic properties are important because they help to identify individual elements or groups of elements. For example, there are specific physical and chemical properties associated with metals and non-metals. Metals can have low electronegativities, while non-metals have higher electronegativities. Similarly, although both can form oxides, the oxides of metals are basic and non-metal oxides are acidic. These are examples of chemical properties.
Metals and non-metals also exhibit different physical properties. For example, metals tend to be shiny, but non-metals are lack luster.