Difference between intensive property and extensive property

Difference between intensive property and extensive property: Each matter has specific properties that show its characteristics. These properties are classified as intensive properties and extensive properties. This classification is based on its interaction with the physical and non-physical systems. An intensive property is defined as a property that is a system of physical properties that does not depend on the size or quantity of the system; it does not vary with the size or quantity of the material, for example, melting point, boiling point, etc. On the other hand, extensive property is defined as a property that totally depends on the size or quantity of the material; varies with change in size or amount of volume.

Intensive properties and extensive properties are types of physical properties of matter. The terms intensive and extensive were first described by the chemical physicist and physicist Richard C. Tolman in 1917. Here’s a look at what intensive and extensive properties are, examples of them, and how to tell them apart.

Key Differences

  • An intensive property is a system of properties that does not depend on the quantity or size of the material, while the extensive property is a system of properties that depends on the quantity or size of the material.
  • The two types of physical properties of matter are intensive properties and extensive properties.
  • The intensive properties do not change with the change in the quantity or size of the material, whereas the extensive properties always change with the change in the quantity or size of the material.
  • The intensive properties do not depend on the amount of matter. Examples include density, state of matter, and temperature.
  • The intensive properties remain constant while the extensive properties are not constant.
  • The intensive properties show the same result in the test of different samples, while the extensive properties show the variable result in the test of different samples.
  • Extensive properties depend on sample size. Examples include volume, mass, and size.
  • The intensive properties are boiling point, color, state of matter, density, odor, melting point, hardness, malleability, while extensive properties include mass, volume, length, height, etc.

Difference between intensive property and extensive property in Tabular Form

Intensive propertyExtensive property
DefinitionAn intensive property is a system of properties that do not depend on the quantity or size of the material.The extensive property is a system of properties that depends on the quantity or size of the material.
ConstantThe intensive properties remain constant.Extensive properties are not constant.
It variesThe intensive properties do not change with the change in the quantity or size of the material.Extensive properties always change with changes in the quantity or size of the material.
OutcomeIntensive properties show the same result in different test samples.The extensive properties show the result of the variable in the test of different samples.
ExampleThe intensive properties are boiling point, color, state of matter, density, odor, melting point, hardness, malleability.Extensive properties include mass, volume, length, height, etc.

What is intensive Property?

An intensive property is a system of properties that do not depend on the quantity or size of the material, these properties remain constant and do not vary with the change in the quantity or size of the material. The intensive properties are very useful as they help to identify a sample of the whole material because it does not change with quantity or size, thus giving a total result in the test of small quantities. For example, the melting point of water (ice) is 0 degrees Celsius; this remains the same for water (ice) in all conditions. If we drink a liter of ice water (ice), it will have the same melting point as two liters or three liters. Similarly, if the amount is halved, the melting point remains the same. It does not vary with the quantity or size of the material.

Intensive properties are bulk properties, which means that they do not depend on the amount of matter present. Examples of intensive properties include:

  • Boiling point
  • Melting point
  • Density
  • Odor
  • State of matter
  • Temperature
  • Colour
  • Refractive index
  • Gloss
  • Hardness
  • Ductility
  • Malleability

What is extensive Property?

An extensive property is a system of properties that depends on the quantity or size of the material, these properties remain non-uniform and vary with the change in the quantity or size of the material. Extensive properties are very difficult to identify in a sample of the given material because it changes with quantity or size, thus giving variable results in different quantities of samples. For example, the volume of the material is its extensive property; varies with size and quantity. If material is taken in small quantity or has a small size, it will also occupy little volume. Similarly, if the quantity or size of the material is increased, the volume of the material also increases. The sample that depends on the quantity or size of the material. Extensive properties include mass, volume, length, height, etc.

The extensive properties depend on the amount of matter present. An extensive property is considered additive for subsystems. Examples of extensive properties include:

  • Volume
  • Mass
  • length
  • size
  • weight

The relationship between two extensive properties is an intensive property. For example, mass and volume are extensive properties, but their relationship (density) is an intensive property of matter.

While extensive properties are great for describing a sample, they are not very useful for identifying it because they can change depending on the size or conditions of the sample.

How to distinguish intensive and extensive properties?

An easy way to tell if a physical property is intensive or extensive is to take two identical samples of a substance and put them together. If this doubles the property (eg, twice the mass, twice the length), it is a long property. If the property does not change by altering the sample size, it is an intensive property.

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