Extensive Property Definition (Chemistry)

Understand What an Extensive Property Is in Chemistry

Volume is an example of an extensive property, which is a type of physical property that depends on sample size or mass.
Volume is an example of an extensive property, which is a type of physical property that depends on sample size or mass. TEK IMAGE / Getty Images

The two types of physical properties of matter are intensive properties and extensive properties.

Extensive Property Definition

An extensive property is a property of matter that changes as the amount of matter changes. Like other physical properties, an extensive property may be observed and measured without any chemical change (reaction) occurring.

Extensive Property Examples

Mass and volume are extensive properties.

As more matter is added to a system, both mass and volume changes.

Extensive Versus Intensive Properties

In contrast to extensive properties, intensive properties do not depend on the amount of matter in a sample. They are the same whether you're looking at a large amount of material or tiny quantity. An example of an intensive property is electrical conductivity. The electrical conductivity of a wire depends on its composition, not the length of the wire. Density and solubility are two other examples of intensive properties.

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Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "Extensive Property Definition (Chemistry)." ThoughtCo, Mar. 11, 2018, thoughtco.com/definition-of-extensive-property-605115. Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. (2018, March 11). Extensive Property Definition (Chemistry). Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/definition-of-extensive-property-605115 Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "Extensive Property Definition (Chemistry)." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/definition-of-extensive-property-605115 (accessed April 19, 2018).