Electrical Conductance

Discussion in 'Computer Support' started by Use.Netuser.de, Feb 8, 2004.

  1. Hi Group

    What defines a good conductor of electricity and why?

    As I understand it from a search silver appears to be one of the best
    conductors followed by copper, aluminium and gold at room temperature. I am
    particularly interested in these materials as they are commonly used for
    standard applications.

    I've seen a move from copper to aluminium in high ampage DC applications and
    been told that the cost of Aluminium is less than copper and the relative
    difference in conductivity is not so important in such applications when
    compared the product costs.

    I also know that gold is commonly used in PCB fabrication etc and although it
    is less conductive than the other materials above it's used because it does
    not tarnish readily (oxidise) in air thus is ideal for such things as
    connectors and PCB tracks prior to flow soldering.

    Can we define a good conductor as one which can be produced with fewer
    impurities thus less resistance or is it related to free electrons .... any
    ideas!?

    TIA
    Use.Netuser.de, Feb 8, 2004
    #1
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  2. Use.Netuser.de

    °Mike° Guest

    On Sun, 8 Feb 2004 14:06:33 -0000, in
    <c05g95$12nf2k$-berlin.de>
    Use.Netuser.de scrawled:

    >Hi Group
    >
    >What defines a good conductor of electricity and why?


    Homework?

    <snip>

    >I also know that gold is commonly used in PCB fabrication etc and although it
    >is less conductive than the other materials above it's used because it does
    >not tarnish readily (oxidise) in air


    Gold (pure) is inert; it is unaffected by most reagents -- it's
    the impurities that tarnish.

    <snip>

    --
    Basic computer maintenance
    http://uk.geocities.com/personel44/maintenance.html
    °Mike°, Feb 8, 2004
    #2
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  3. Use.Netuser.de

    philo Guest

    "Use.Netuser.de" <> wrote in message
    news:c05g95$12nf2k$-berlin.de...
    > Hi Group
    >
    > What defines a good conductor of electricity and why?
    >
    > As I understand it from a search silver appears to be one of the best
    > conductors followed by copper, aluminium and gold at room temperature. I

    am
    > particularly interested in these materials as they are commonly used for
    > standard applications.
    >
    > I've seen a move from copper to aluminium in high ampage DC applications

    and
    > been told that the cost of Aluminium is less than copper and the relative
    > difference in conductivity is not so important in such applications when
    > compared the product costs.
    >
    > I also know that gold is commonly used in PCB fabrication etc and although

    it
    > is less conductive than the other materials above it's used because it

    does
    > not tarnish readily (oxidise) in air thus is ideal for such things as
    > connectors and PCB tracks prior to flow soldering.
    >
    > Can we define a good conductor as one which can be produced with fewer
    > impurities thus less resistance or is it related to free electrons ....

    any
    > ideas!?
    >
    > TIA
    >
    >

    Although aluminum is a good conductor...it is very much subject
    to degradation. If you do not have an extremely good connection
    it will tarnish and develop heat.

    For a very brief period of time it was legal to use in house wiring...but
    was made illegal due to fires being started. Also, with copper for example
    you may flex it quite a bit before it breaks...aluminum is very brittle.

    As far as wiring goes...copper is so close to silver as far as conductivity
    that copper is the logical material to use...due to cost...

    However when it comes to the use of connectors...if copper gets tarnished
    it becomes a poor conductor...That's why gold is used in critical
    applications.

    Silver is also a good alternative for making electrical connections as it is
    not only the best conductor...but silver-oxide is still a good conductor
    unlike copper-oxide.
    philo, Feb 8, 2004
    #3
  4. "°Mike°" <> wrote
    : Use.Netuser.de scrawled:

    : >What defines a good conductor of electricity and why?
    : Homework?

    It was a question raised recent amongst a group of collegues and nobody could
    answer it!? And we are all experienced engineers and one guy has a PhD in
    Chemistry ...

    Anyway the answers were "free electrons in the outer layer" and "purity of the
    conductive material (metal)".
    Finally after an exhaustive search the answer is

    Valence Electrons:
    The outer shell of an atom is known as the valence shell. Any electrons
    located in the outer shell of an atom are known as valence electrons. The
    valence shell of an atom cannot hold more than eight electrons. It is the
    valence electrons that are primary concern in the study of electricity,
    because it is these that explain much of electrical theory. A conductor for
    instance, is generally made from a material that contains one or two valence
    electrons. Atoms with one or two valence electrons are unstable and can be
    made to give up these electrons with little effort. Conductors are materials
    that permit electrons to flow through them easily. When an atom has only one
    or two valence electrons, these electrons are loosely held by the atom and are
    easily given up for the current flow. Silver, copper, gold, and aluminum all
    contain one valence electron and are excellent conductors of electricity.
    Silver is the best natural conductor of electricity, followed by copper, gold,
    and aluminum.

    : <snip>
    :
    : >I also know that gold is commonly used in PCB fabrication etc and although
    it
    : >is less conductive than the other materials above it's used because it does
    : >not tarnish readily (oxidise) in air
    :
    : Gold (pure) is inert; it is unaffected by most reagents -- it's
    : the impurities that tarnish.
    : <snip>

    Interesting. Thanks
    Use.Netuser.de, Feb 8, 2004
    #4
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