AAT Bioquest

What are the two classes of physical properties?

Posted May 13, 2022


The two classes of physical properties are extensive physical properties and intensive physical properties. There are a few basic differences between the two. 

Extensive Physical Properties

Extensive physical properties are the distinctive characteristics of a substance that you notice almost immediately. They can be observed and measured without any changes to the chemical composition of the sample. Extensive properties depend largely on the size and amount of the sample that is present. They are useful for describing the sample. However, they are not useful for identifying the composition of the sample as that can change depending on the same size or external conditions. Examples of extensive physical properties include shape, texture, volume, density, and mass

Intensive Physical Properties

Intensive physical properties refer to the characteristics of a substance that remain constant no matter how much matter is present. These properties do not vary depending on the size or amount of matter in a sample. For example, boiling point is an intensive property. The boiling point of water remains constant regardless of the amount of water being boiled. Other examples of intensive properties include melting point, freezing point, temperature, and density. 

Additional resources

Intrinsic and extrinsic mechanical properties related to the differentiation of mesenchymal stem cells

Boiling Point Predictor

Temperature (°C, °F, K) Conversion Table