Which physical or chemical properties were most useful in identifying the mystery powder?

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The answer depends on what substances you were testing, but here are some ideas.

If all of them were white as in the typical experiment, then color is not very useful.  If you were allowed to taste them, then a salty taste would be a helpful clue.  If the textures...

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The answer depends on what substances you were testing, but here are some ideas.

If all of them were white as in the typical experiment, then color is not very useful.  If you were allowed to taste them, then a salty taste would be a helpful clue.  If the textures were different, some crystals, like salt or sugar and others powdery, like flour or cornstarch, those properties would be helpful.  If some dissolved in water, such as salt or sugar, that could be useful. As far as chemical properties, the most common one that you would see in this experiment is the powder that reacts with vinegar/hydrochloric acid, which would be baking soda.  Most likely, in the experiment you did, the physical properties were the most useful because they gave you more information about the powders.

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