Mass is an extensive property. It depends on the quantity or size of the substance being considered. If you have more of a substance, its mass will be greater, and if you have less, its mass will be smaller.
Well, this was just a simple answer. But there are few more things to know about this topic which will make your concept super clear.
So let’s dive right into it.
Key Takeaways: Is Mass Intensive or Extensive Property?
- Mass is an extensive property because it depends on the quantity of matter present in a system and changes as you add or remove more matter.
- Extensive properties are additive, meaning the total mass of a combined system is the sum of the masses of its individual parts.
- Intensive properties, such as density, temperature, and pressure, remain constant regardless of the quantity of matter and describe inherent characteristics of a material.
Why is mass an extensive property?
Mass is considered an extensive property because it depends on the amount or quantity of matter present in a system. Extensive properties are those that change in proportion to the size or amount of the system, meaning they increase or decrease as you add or remove more matter.
Here’s why mass is an extensive property:
- Additivity: When you combine two or more separate systems, the total mass of the combined system is the sum of the masses of the individual systems. For example, if you have two objects with masses of 1 kg and 2 kg, their combined mass will be 3 kg.
- Divisibility: If you divide a system into smaller parts, each part will have a mass proportional to its size relative to the original system. For instance, if you divide a 3 kg object into three equal parts, each part will have a mass of 1 kg.
Since mass depends on the quantity of matter in a system and changes as you change the amount of matter, it is classified as an extensive property.
Other examples of extensive properties include volume, energy, and moles of a substance. 1 2
These properties help describe and characterize the macroscopic behavior of a system and are crucial in understanding various physical and chemical phenomena.
Why is mass not an intensive property?
Mass is not an intensive property because it does not remain constant regardless of the quantity of matter or the size of the system. Intensive properties, on the other hand, are independent of the amount of substance and describe inherent characteristics of the material.
Intensive properties, such as temperature, pressure, and density, do not change with the quantity of matter present in a system. 3
For instance, the density of a substance remains the same regardless of the amount of that substance you have. If you have a small or large amount of the same substance, its density remains constant.
In contrast, mass depends on the amount of matter present. Doubling the amount of matter will double the mass, and halving the amount of matter will halve the mass.
This dependency on quantity is why mass is considered an extensive property and not an intensive one.
In summary, mass is an extensive property because it varies with the amount of matter in a system. Intensive properties, on the other hand, remain constant regardless of the size or quantity of the substance and describe its inherent characteristics.
Is Density Intensive or Extensive Property?
Is Hardness Intensive or Extensive Property?
Is HCl a Strong or Weak Acid?
Is HNO3 (Nitric Acid) a Strong or Weak Acid?
Is H3PO4 (Phosphoric Acid) a Strong or Weak Acid?
Jay is an educator and has helped more than 100,000 students in their studies by providing simple and easy explanations on different science-related topics. He is a founder of Pediabay and is passionate about helping students through his easily digestible explanations.
Read more about our Editorial process.
- Yan, C. Y. (n.d.). 1.3 Extensive and intensive properties – Introduction to Engineering Thermodynamics. 1.3 Extensive and Intensive Properties – Introduction to Engineering Thermodynamics. https://pressbooks.bccampus.ca/thermo1/chapter/extensive-and-intensive-properties/
- Study.com https://study.com/academy/lesson/examples-of-intensive-extensive-properties-of-matter.html
- Usf.edu http://www.eng.usf.edu/~campbell/ThermoI/Proptut/tut2.html