Intensive And Extensive Properties Of Matter

Intensive And Extensive Properties Of Matter

Thermodynamics deals with the flow of heat energy. This flow of heat energy and its transformation into different forms is governed by the principles of thermodynamics. It depends on the matter and the factors that determine the state of a matter. The thermodynamic properties of a system depend on certain parameters. The parameters or variables are classified as state functions and path functions as defined below:

  1. State functions or state variables are those parameters that depend only on the current state of the system and not on the path that they have taken to reach this state.
    For e.g: Temperature of the system.
  1. A path function is a parameter that depends on the path taken by the system to reach the current state.
    For e.g: Work done by frictional force.

A state function depends only on the initial and final conditions while a path function depends on the path taken to reach final condition from the initial condition. The thermodynamic properties of matter are also classified as intensive and extensive properties. This classification is based on the dependence of a property on the size or quantity of matter under consideration. The intensive and extensive properties of matter are discussed below.

Extensive Property

There are properties such as length, mass, volume, weight, etc. that depend on the quantity or size of the matter, these properties are called an extensive property of matter and their value changes if the size or quantity of matter changes.  Suppose we have two boxes made up of the same material, one has a capacity of four litres while the other has a capacity of ten litres. The box with ten litres capacity will have more amount of matter as compared to that of a four-litre box.

Intensive Property

The properties of matter that do not depend on the size or quantity of matter in any way are referred to as an intensive property of matter. Temperatures, density, colour, melting and boiling point, etc., all are intensive property as they will not change with a change in size or quantity of matter. The density of 1 litre of water or 100 litres of water will remain same as it is an intensive property.

The intensive and extensive properties of matter help us in determining the thermodynamic state of a system; they provide us with the coordinates that are required to find the state of matter in thermodynamic terms.  Call our mentors at Byju’s for further support on intensive and extensive properties of matter.


Practise This Question

Polyurethane is quite good for cold weather for jackets and blankets. However, thermal emergency blankets or space blankets are often made up of something similar to aluminum foil and used by astronauts to avoid hypothermia when stuck in subzero temperature. Why do you think it is a good choice?