Basic Properties

Within thermodynamics, a physical property is any property that is measurable, and whose value describes a state of a physical system. Our goal here will be to introduce thermodynamic properties, that are used in engineering thermodynamics. These properties will be further applied to energy systems and finally to thermal or nuclear power plants.

Extensive vs. intensive thermodynamic properties

In general, thermodynamic properties can be divided into two general classes:

  • Extensive properties: An extensive property is dependent upon the amount of mass present or upon the size or extent of a system. For example, the following properties are extensive:
    • Enthalpy
    • Entropy
    • Gibbs Free Energy
    • Heat Capacity
    • Internal Energy
    • Mass
    • Volume
  • Intensive property: An intensive property is independent of the amount of mass and may vary from place to place within the system at any moment. For example, the following properties are extensive: