Intensive and extensive properties


Written By: Ehsan Jahandarpour

Physical properties of materials and systems can often be categorized as being either intensive or extensive, according to how the property changes when the size (or extent) of the system changes. According to IUPAC, an intensive quantity is one whose magnitude is independent of the size of the system whereas an extensive quantity is one whose magnitude is additive for subsystems. By contrast, extensive properties such as the mass, volume and entropy of systems are additive for subsystems.