What's the Difference Between Intensive and Extensive Properties?

Difference between Intensive and Extensive Properties

Ice crystals
The state of matter, such as whether it is a solid, liquid or gas, is an example of an extensive property. Boiling point is an example of an intensive property. Kjell Suwardi Linder / Getty Images

Intensive properties and extensive properties are types of physical properties of matters. Here's a look at what intensive and extensive properties are and examples of them.

Intensive Properties

Intensive properties do not depend on the amount of matter that is present. Examples of intensive properties include:

    Intensive properties can be used to help identify a sample because these characteristics do not depend on the amount of sample, nor do they change according to conditions.

    Extensive Properties

    Extensive properties do depend on the amount of matter that is present. Examples of extensive properties include:

    While extensive properties are great for describing a sample, they aren't very helpful identifying it because they can change according to sample size or conditions.

    Way To Tell Intensive and Extensive Properties Apart

    One easy way to tell whether a physical property is intensive or extensive is to take two identical samples of a substance and put them together. If this doubles the property (e.g., twice the mass, twice as long), it's an extensive property. If the property is unchanged by altering the sample size, it's an intensive property.