A two-temperature equation of state (EOS) for a plasma medium was developed. The cold-electron temperature is taken from semiempirical calculations, while the thermal contribution of the electrons is calculated from the Thomas–Fermi–Dirac model. The ion EOS is obtained by the Gruneisen–Debye solid–gas interpolation method. These EOS are well behaved and are smoothed over the whole temperature and density regions, so that the thermodynamical derivatives are also well behaved. Moreover, these EOS were used to calculate the average ionization 〈Z〉 and 〈Z2〉 of the plasma medium. Furthermore, the thermal conductivities have been calculated with the use of an extrapolation between the conductivities in the solid and plasma (Spitzer) states. The two-temperature EOS, the average ionization 〈Z〉 and 〈Z2〉, and the thermal conductivities for electrons and ions were introduced into a two-fluid hydrodynamic code to calculate the laser-plasma interaction in carbon, aluminum, copper, and gold slab targets. It was found that the two EOS are important mainly from the ablation surface outward (toward the laser). In particular, the creation of cavitons in the distribution of the electrons is predicted here, especially for light materials such as aluminum. These studies enable us also to establish that the commonly used exponential scaling laws of the type Pa = A[I/(1014 W/cm2)]α for the ablation pressure and similar laws for the temperature are valid only for absorbed laser intensities in the range 3 × 1012-3 × 1014 W/cm2, while the degree of ionization (at the corona) follows a quite different scaling law. We also found that the parameters A and α. in the above expression are dependent on material, laser wavelength, and pulse shape. Thus we determined for the ablation pressure, using a trapezoidal Nd laser pulse, that α varies between 0.78 and 0.84 and that A varies between 14 and 8 Mbar for 6 ≤ Z ≤ 79. Beyond the range of validity the scaling laws may give values at least twice as large as those obtained by the simulation.