What are Intensive and Extensive Properties?

What are Intensive and Extensive Properties?

All physical properties of materials can be categorized as ‘intensive properties’ or ‘extensive properties’ based on the changes in that property exhibited by the material when its size is increased. An intensive property of a material can be considered as a bulk property of that material – a local property of the material, which is independent of the size of the material or its quantity. On the other hand, an extensive property is dependent on the size or amount of the material present.

What are Intensive Properties?

Intensive properties can be defined as physical properties that are independent of the amount of substance they are measured for. For example, the density of a homogeneous substance is the same at any given point and is, therefore, an intensive physical property of that material. A few important examples of physical properties that can be classified as intensive properties are listed below.

  • Melting Point: The melting point of a substance remains the same, regardless of the amount of substance present.
  • Boiling Point: Similar to its melting point, the boiling point of a substance can be regarded as an intensive property since it remains consistent, regardless of any increase in the quantity of material.
  • Colour: All homogeneous substances have a uniform distribution of colour. Any increase or decrease in the quantity of material will have no effect whatsoever on the colour of the material. Therefore, colour can also be regarded as an intensive property.

What are Extensive Properties?

Physical properties of substances or systems whose magnitudes/values are directly or inversely proportional to the size of the system or the quantity of the substance are called extensive properties. For example, mass is an extensive property since it increases when the quantity of the substance is increased. Another important example of an extensive property is volume – the greater the amount of matter in a given system, the greater the volume occupied by that matter. To learn more about intensive and extensive properties of matter and other important topics related to physical chemistry, subscribe to the BYJU’S YouTube channel and enable notifications.

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