# How do we predict the properties of the materials we make through chemical reactions?

I find chemistry fascinating. I've taken a couple of classes and so am familiar with the rudiments of orbital theory, equilibria, acid/base chemistry, and a small bit of organic chemistry. So I can attempt to make predictions about which reactions might happen, but I'd like to know what the properties of the materials made are ahead of time. Is there a way to do this? I know that there are materials composed of the same elements in different structures that have vastly different properties (melting point, color, conductivity, etc.), so what can we actually do to predict these things (i.e. figure out the structure we'll get, and the properties these structures produce)?

• Predicting properties is a massive can of worms. By and large chemists extrapolate. WE look at similar compounds and extrapolate how changes would effect properties of known compounds. // Some things like protein folding just defy calculation. – MaxW Mar 20 '17 at 16:03

• I think the problem is not really the computing power, but our models. Models that generate results that are quantitative often have a formal scaling of $N^6$ (CCSD) or $N^7$ (CCSD(T)). Even if our computational power will be 10 times stronger than what it is now, it would mean nothing for those models. – Fl.pf. Mar 21 '17 at 8:43