Difference Between Intensive and Extensive Properties

Main Difference – Intensive vs Extensive Properties

All matter has chemical and physical properties. There are some substances having unique properties whereas other compounds may have similar properties. Physical properties are properties of matter that can be observed without changing the chemical composition of matter. Physical properties can be divided into two groups as intensive properties and extensive properties. Intensive properties, also known as bulk properties, do not depend on the amount of matter. Extensive properties are physical properties that depend on the amount of matter. This is the main difference between intensive and extensive properties.

Key Areas Covered

1. What are Intensive Properties
      – Definition, Examples
2. What are Extensive Properties
     – Definition, Examples
3. What is the Difference Between Intensive and Extensive Properties
      – Comparison of Key Differences

Key Terms: Boiling Point, Bulk Properties, Density, Energy, Extensive, Intensive, Matter, Melting Point, Physical Properties

Difference Between Intensive and Extensive Properties - Comparison Summary

What are Intensive Properties

Intensive properties are physical properties that do not depend on the amount of matter. This means these properties are the same even if we measure them with different amounts of matter. Let us consider some examples in order to understand the nature of these properties.

Melting Point and Boiling Point

These are intensive properties. Regardless the amount or the size of the substance, the value obtained for the melting point or boiling point of that substance is the same. For example, the boiling point of water is 100oC. Even if we increase the temperature of 100 mL of water, it will boil at 100oC.  If we increase the temperature of 500 mL of water, it will also boil at 100oC.

Density

Density is also an intensive property. The density of a substance is its mass per unit volume. Therefore, no matter how much amount we have, we only measure the mass per unit volume. But this is true only for homogeneous systems.

Color

The color of a substance is the same for any amount of matter.

Difference Between Intensive and Extensive Properties

Figure 1: Color is an Intensive Property

Temperature

When considering the temperature of a substance, the temperature at one point is similar to the temperature at a different point of the same substance.

Since these properties do not depend on the size or the amount of matter, they can be used in the identification of a substance. For example, we can get a rough idea about an unknown sample by measuring the melting point and boiling point of that sample and then comparing with a book value.

What are Extensive Properties

Extensive properties are physical properties that depend on the amount of matter. This means these properties can be changed when the amount or the size of the matter is changed. However, these are physical properties that can be observed without changing the chemical composition of matter.

Volume

The volume of a substance is different for different amounts.

Main Difference - Intensive vs Extensive Properties

Figure 2: Volume is an Extensive Property

  • Mass
  • Energy
  • Particle number

Difference Between Intensive and Extensive Properties

Definition

Intensive Properties: Intensive properties are physical properties that do not depend on the amount of matter.

Extensive Properties: Extensive properties are physical properties that depend on the amount of matter.

Quantity

Intensive Properties: Intensive properties are independent of the amount of matter.

Extensive Properties: Extensive properties depend on the amount of matter.

Examples

Intensive Properties: Some examples of intensive properties include melting point, boiling point, density, etc.

Extensive Properties: Some examples of extensive properties include volume, mass, energy, etc.

Conclusion

Physical properties of matter are the properties that can be measured without altering the chemical composition of matter. Physical properties are in two types as intensive properties and extensive properties. The main difference between intensive and extensive properties is that intensive properties do not depend on the amount of matter whereas extensive properties depend on the amount of matter. 

References:

1. Helmenstine, Anne Marie. “Understand Intensive and Extensive Properties.” ThoughtCo, Available here.
2. Helmenstine, Anne Marie. “Explanation and Examples of Physical Properties.” ThoughtCo, Available here.
3. “Intensive and extensive properties.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 29 Nov. 2017, Available here.

Image Courtesy:

1. “Nile red 01″ By Kuebi = Armin Kübelbeck – Own work (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “Inscribed cone sphere cylinder” By Cmglee – Own work (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia

About the Author: Madhusha

Madhusha is a BSc (Hons) graduate in the field of Biological Sciences and is currently pursuing for her Masters in Industrial and Environmental Chemistry. Her interest areas for writing and research include Biochemistry and Environmental Chemistry.

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