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physical property

n. a property used to characterize physical objects

Physical property

A physical property is any property that is measurable, whose value describes a state of a physical system. The changes in the physical properties of a system can be used to describe its transformations or evolutions between its momentary states. Physical properties are often referred to as observables. They are not modal properties. Quantifiable physical property is called physical quantity.

Physical properties are often characterized as intensive and extensive properties. An intensive property does not depend on the size or extent of the system, nor on the amount of matter in the object, while an extensive property shows an additive relationship. These classifications are in general only valid in cases when smaller subdivisions of the sample do not interact in some physical or chemical process when combined.

Properties may also be classified with respect to the directionality of their nature. For example, isotropic properties do not change with the direction of observation, and anisotropic properties do have spatial variance.

It may be difficult to determine whether a given property is a material property or not. Color, for example, can be seen and measured; however, what one perceives as color is really an interpretation of the reflective properties of a surface and the light used to illuminate it. In this sense, many ostensibly physical properties are called supervenient. A supervenient property is one which is actual, but is secondary to some underlying reality. This is similar to the way in which objects are supervenient on atomic structure. A cup might have the physical properties of mass, shape, color, temperature, etc., but these properties are supervenient on the underlying atomic structure, which may in turn be supervenient on an underlying quantum structure.

Physical properties are contrasted with chemical properties which determine the way a material behaves in a chemical reaction.

Usage examples of "physical property".

A group of Spaniards had just begun dancing their national fandango, and the extraordinary lightness which had become the physical property of every object in the new planet made the dancers bound to a height of thirty feet or more into the air, considerably above the tops of the trees.

If Dense was right, why had another physical property, Brittle, been ruled wrong, while Joy had been accepted in its place?

Since the IRS permits deductions for gifts of chattels only after the physical property is delivered, I had been fretted that the valuation on what I had been able to deliver (some mss.

See, a black body temperature is a physical property of all things, even dragons, no matter what their color.

Gloria was to have the house and all physical property, and the right to withdraw all or any part of the monies in trust at any time.

For the mind is not a physical property, it is not bound, or should not be bound, by the laws that say that nothing can exceed the speed of light.