In electrochemistry, I know that standard emf of a cell (also called standard electrode potential (E°)) is an intensive property.

But, I wanted to know whether non-standard emf will also be intensive or extensive?

(Also, in general, is electromotive force intensive or extensive?) (I mean emf used in other topics like electromagnetism)

  • $\begingroup$ @Poutnik Most websites say that it will be intensive but when we change concentration of electrolyte then cell's potential also changes, why is that? $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 4, 2021 at 12:08
  • $\begingroup$ You pay twice as much, you get twice as much - that's what "extensive" means. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 4, 2021 at 15:09

1 Answer 1


Being intensive or extensive property is not related to changing of system properties like concentrations. It is related to scalability of systems.

If you change the system scale, like doubling or halving it, and if the property remains the same, like temperature, density, composition, equilibrium EMF, it is the intensive property.

If you change the system scale and the property changes proportionally to the scaling, it is the extensive property, like mass, volume, energy.

If you change the system scale and the property changes, but not proportionally to the scaling, it is neither extensive neither intensive property. Like the object surface, galvanic resistance or the non-standard non-equilibrium EMF, where level of the electrode polarization can be scale dependent.


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