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Property vs. State

The concept of properties and state.


Property is any characteristic or attribute which can be quantitatively evaluated.

  • Pressure, temperature, velocity, energy, etc. are all properties

Things that are done, like work or heat flow, are not properties.


The state of an object is its condition described by a list of properties. For example

  • temperature and pressure may describe the state of a gas

The properties needed to describe the state of an object varies with the object and the microscopic versus macroscopic view of the object.

Some common states and their often used properties:

Common Properties Describing State
Chemical chemical composition, free charge, energy, entropy etc.
Electromagnetic electric field strength, magnetic dipole moment, charge, etc.
Aesthetic color, design, odor, etc
Geometric length, width, breadth, volume, etc.
Hydrodynamic pressure, shearing stress, strain rate, etc.
Kinematic position, speed, acceleration, etc.
Thermodynamic energy, temperature, volume, pressure, enthalpy, entropy, etc.

Related Topics

  • Basics

    Basic engineering data. SI-system, unit converters, physical constants, drawing scales and more.
  • Thermodynamics

    Work, heat and energy systems.

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