Education

Physical Quantities of Matter

All physical bodies or objects have two main quantities i.e. physical quantities and chemical quantities. When it comes to physics, we undertake the study of the physical quantities of matter. Without a basic understanding of the physical quantities of matter, it’s difficult to study the subject of physics itself. Hence, in this article, I will discuss the physical quantities of matter.

What are the physical quantities? 

Physical quantities of an object are expressed in a numerical value along with a standard unit.  For example, length can be quantified as n m, where n represents the numerical value and meter is the unit for length. In other words, all physical quantities have at least two characteristics in common i.e. the numerical magnitude, the unit in which a quantity is is measured.

with a change in the quantities, there is no change in the chemical composition of an object. In other words, physical quantities are ascertained without a change in the size of any material.

Classification of physical quantities of matter

There are two major types of physical quantities i.e. extensive properties, intensive properties, which are further divided into their subcategories.

1. Extensive physical properties of matters

Extensive physical quantities depend upon the size of the substance in question. These quantities change with a change in the size (mass) of the object under experimentation.

Following are examples of Extensive properties:

I. Area 

The concept of ‘area’ refers to a quantity that expresses the extent of a two-dimensional figure. In the International System of Units, the square meter is (m2) is the standard unit of area. In a square meter, the sides of the area are one meter long. A shape with an area of four square meters would have the same area as four similar squares.

II. Length

The quantity of length refers to the longest extent of an object as measured from one endpoint to another endpoint.  Meter is the base unit in the International System of Units. Length is a quantity with dimension distance, a measure of a straight line distance between two points of a plane or an object.

III. Mass

The term ‘mass’ refers to the number of unit components of which an object is composed. SI unit for measuring the mass of an object is the kilogram (Kg). 1000 grams (g) makes 1 kilogram (Kg).

IV. Volume

The term ‘volume’ refers to the space occupied by the object in question.

V. Weight

Weight refers to the intensity of the force applied on an object due to the gravitational pull of the earth.

2. Intensive Physical quantities

Intensive Physical properties refer to such qualities of an object that do not change with any change brought in the mass of an object.

Examples of intensive physical quantities are as follows: 

I. Temperature

Temperature is a physical quantity that demonstrates the hotness and coldness of any object. The symbol  ‘T’ represents the temperature of an object.

II. Viscosity 

It is a measure of the resistance of a liquid object to deformation by stress. In other words, viscosity refers to the thickness of a fluid. For example, cooking oil has a higher viscosity than water.

III. Density

It is the mass per unit volume of an object. The symbol ‘ρ’ denotes the density of any object

IV. Hardness

The physical quantity of hardness refers to the extent a solid object can be resistant to an external force. It is represented by the symbol ‘η’. 

V. Color

Color is a measurement of the light reflected by an object. The type of color is determined by the measurement of the hue of an object.

VI. Concentration 

It refers to the amount of one substance in a mixture.

VII. Density 

It refers to mass per unit volume of a substance

VIII. Distribution 

It refers to the number of particles per unit volume in the single-particle phase space

IX. Elasticity

It refers to the tendency of a material to return to its former shape

X. Flow rate

It refers to the amount of fluid which passes through a surface per unit of time

XV- Smell 

It refers to the scent or odor of a substance

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