Intensive and Extensive Properties

The matter is the substance of which is done something. For example, the material of a nail maybe iron. The matter of living beings is an organic matter.

When we speak of matter we are referring to something that has mass and volume, that is, it occupies a space.

Matter can have two types of properties:

  • Extensive properties: Depend on the amount of matter.
  • Intensive properties : (or intrinsic) They do not depend on the amount of matter, that is, they remain unchanged.

There are some extensive properties that can be used as intensive. For example, the volume is an extensive property. However, it can become an intensive property if it is considered as a unit value, such as the molar volume (the volume of one mole of the substance).

It can help you:

  • Examples of Physical and Chemical Properties of Matter

Examples of intensive properties

  1. Temperature: The amount of heat in a substance. It is measured in degrees. For example: “This water sample has a temperature of 32 degrees Celsius .” The amount of water is not specified in the example because the intensive properties do not change with the amount. If the sample is two liters, the temperature will be the same as if the sample is 200 cm3.
  2. Boiling temperature: Also called the boiling point. It is the maximum temperature that a substance can reach in a liquid state. If the substance exceeds that temperature, it will be in a gaseous state. For example, the boiling temperature of the water is 100 degrees C.
  3. Melting temperature or melting point: Temperature at which a substance changes from a solid to a liquid state. In general, the melting point is equal to the freezing point (for example, for water, the melting point and the freezing point is 0 degrees). However, with some exceptions like agar-agar. Example: the melting point of silver is 961 degrees.
  4. Pressure: It is a physical quantity that measures the force projection in a perpendicular direction per unit area. It is measured in pascals or newtons. When measuring atmospheric pressure (the pressure exerted by the atmosphere on earth) it is measured in hectopascals (hPa) which is equal to 100 pascals. Example: the pressure today in this locality is 1013 hectopascals.
  5. Specific volume: Although volume is an extensive property, specific volume is an intensive property because it is the volume occupied by a unit of mass of material. It is the inverse magnitude of the density. It is measured in units of volume per unit of mass. For example, cubic meters per kilogram. For example, the specific volume of water at 20 degrees is 0.001002 m3 / kg.
  6. Density: It is the magnitude of the amount of mass in a given volume. In other words, the density of a body is the ratio between the mass of a body and the volume it occupies. For example, the density of sunflower oil is 0.891 g / cm3.
  7. Color: Refers to the appearance of a substance before the human eye. For example, the color of the wood can be orange, brown, or copper.
  8. Taste: Chemistry rarely works with the taste of substances, since many of them are toxic. However, it is important to remember that it is one of the intensive properties of substances. For example, the lemon flavor is acidic.
  9. Compressibility: It is the capacity of matter to decrease in volume when subjected to a certain pressure or compression.
  10. Concentration: Given a solution, concentration is the ratio between the amount of solute (the substance in the smallest proportion, usually a solid) and the amount of solvent (a substance that dissolves). The greater the amount of solute compared to that of the solvent, the solution is said to be more concentrated. The lower the amount of solute compared to that of the solvent, the solution is said to be more dilute.
  11. Refractive index: It is the quotient between the speed of light and the speed of light in the substance from which we calculate the index. In other words, the faster light passes through that substance, the lower the refractive index will be. The vacuum refractive index is 1, the air refractive index is 1,0002926, the diamond refractive index is 2.42.
  12. Surface tension: It is a property of liquids. It is the ability of some liquids to prevent increasing its surface. Surface tension is the force acting tangentially per unit length on the edge of a surface of an equilibrium liquid. Due to the surface tension, water droplets are formed and the water does not spread over an entire surface. Water has a surface tension of 72.75, while other liquids have lower surface tension, such as acetone (23.70) or ethyl alcohol (22.75).
  13. Elasticity: It is the ability of some materials to return to their original shape after having undergone deformations as a consequence of an external force.

Examples of extensive properties

  1. Weight: It is a measure of strength. It is the gravitational force that acts on an object. On the earth’s surface, the weight of an object is equal to its mass. However, the weight of the same body on the Moon will be much less, while its mass will remain the same. It is a vector quantity.
  2. Mass: It is the amount of matter in a body. To measure it, as with weight, the kilogram is used. It is a scalar magnitude.
  3. Volume: It is the extension of an object in three dimensions. It is a quantity derived from length. The most used volume units are the liter and the cubic centimeters (cm3). A liter is 1,000 cm3.
  4. Potential energy: Within a physical system, the potential energy of an object is the energy stored according to its position. For example, a brick hanging from a rope two meters high has the potential energy of its fall, in case the rope is cut. Since potential energy depends on weight, mass, and volume, it is an extensive property.
  5. Inertia: Inertia is the ability of an object to remain in a state of rest or movement. Any state of rest (immobility) or movement is always relative since it depends on the point of view of the observer.
  6. Length: In the same way that volume changes with the amount of matter, so does length. It is the distance between two points but measured in only one dimension, unlike the volume that is measured in three (length, width, depth).
  7. Heat capacity: It is the amount of heat that allows the temperature of a body to varying by one degree. It depends on the amount of substance since, for example, it takes more heat to heat one liter of water than half a liter of water.

Related links:

  • Physical and Chemical Properties of Matter
  • Examples of Heat and Temperature
  • Examples of Matter
  • Examples of Elasticity
  • Examples of Density


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