Does Aluminum Foil Conduct Electricity: 11 Important Facts


Aluminum foil is made up of aluminum,a less dense metal with grey shiny surface. Let us discuss whether it conducts electricity.

Aluminum foil conducts electricity. The reason why a metal conducts electricity is its free electrons. As Aluminum is a metal hence it has plenty of free electrons available on its surface which help in passing electricity.

There are three free electrons present in the outermost orbit of aluminum which help in electricity conduction.

Is aluminum a good conductor of electricity?

As aluminum is a metal hence it is a conductor by nature. Let us have a look whether it is a good conductor or not.

Aluminum is a good conductor of electricity as it has three delocalized electrons in the valence shell which move randomly from one atom to another and conductivity of a metal is measured in terms of the movement of these delocalized electrons in it.

Aluminum is not as good as silver or copper in conduction of electricity. In spite of that it is preferred over these two metals due to its low density and cost friendliness.

Is aluminum foil an insulator or a conductor?

Aluminum foil is a versatile option as both of the insulating and conducting properties are retained in it. Let us have a look on this matter.

Aluminum foil is a good conductor of both electricity and heat but it can act as an insulator too. It is used to a great extent as a food wrapper due to its reflectivity property. Whenever it is wrapped around food items it usually reflects off the heat back to the food items.

Besides layers of air molecules are formed in between the layers of aluminum foil. As we know that air acts as an insulator hence it also opposes the radiation of heat to take place. In this way both the aluminum foil and air layers keep the food items warm.

How does aluminum foil conduct electricity?

By now it is known that Aluminum foil conducts electricity. Let us focus on how this process occurs.

Al foil conducts electricity by the movement of free electrons. Al has 3 loosely bound valence electrons that jump randomly to one atom from another. When voltage is applied to foil these electrons move in a fixed direction from the negative to the positive side of the supply and electricity passes.

Why does aluminum foil conduct electricity?

Aluminum foil conducts electricity. Let us concentrate on the reason behind it.

Aluminum foil is made up of Al,a metal. When an emf is applied using a battery,the loosely bound three electrons of the outermost orbit of Al start to move in a definite direction from the negative side to the positive side of the battery. This flow of electrons helps in conducting electric current.

does aluminum foil conduct electricity
Aluminum foil from wikipedia

What is the electric conductivity of aluminum?

Electric conductivity of a metal denotes its capacity to carry electric current. Let us know about the electric conductivity of aluminum.

The electrical conductivity of aluminum is 36.9 x 106 Siemens per meter. Due to its low density its electrical conductivity is a bit less than other metals.

Structure and bonding of aluminum

Aluminum has a regular solid structure and metallic properties. Let us discuss the type of structure and bonding that it possesses.

The structure of aluminum is a crystallized structure. More specifically it can be said that aluminum has face centered cubic (FCC) structure. It has non directional metallic bonding.

Face Centered Cubic structure from wikipedia

Properties of aluminum foil

An aluminum foil does have some properties which make it a worthy option for conducting electricity. They are:

Physical properties

  • Density of aluminum is 2.7 gram/cm³
  • The melting point of aluminum is 660 ℃
  • Electrical resistivity of aluminum foil is 26.5 nΩm.
  • Thermal conductivity of aluminum foil is 235 W/mK.
  • The width of an aluminum foil should be less than 200 μm.
  • The boiling point of aluminum foil is 2467  ℃

Chemical properties

  • Al is a highly electropositive metal.
  • It can form amphoteric oxides that means it has both acidic and basic nature.
  • It has three oxidation states +3,+2 and +1. In case of aluminum oxide Al₂O₃ the oxidation state of aluminum is +3.
  • Aluminum always has a thin layer of aluminum oxide over it which protects it from being damaged. The reaction of producing aluminum oxide is :

4 Al(s) + 3 O₂(l) ➡2Al₂O₃(s)

Uses of aluminum foil as conductor

Other than acting as a wrapper of food items aluminum foil has some uses as conductor also. Let us have a look on these uses.

  • Aluminum foil is used to make wiring for house construction.
  • It is used in making transmission lines of local power grids.
  • In some cases power wiring of aircrafts is also made from aluminum foil.

Can aluminum foil be used as a wire and How?

Wires are usually made up of conductors that can carry electric current over long distances. Let us clarify whether we can use aluminum foil for this purpose.

Aluminum foil can be used as a wire being bended spirally. The foil wire should be connected to the two sides of an incandescent bulb,one foil wire with the thread around the bulb and the other with the knob. Then these two will be connected to the positive side and negative side of a battery. As a result of this the bulb will glow.

It is preferrable due to its cost friendliness.

Is aluminum foil a good conductor of heat and why?

Materials with the capacity of transferring heat swiftly are good conductors of heat. Let us focus on Al foil regarding this.

Aluminum foil is a good conductor of heat because it has a very high thermal conductivity of 235 W/K.m and whether a metal can conduct heat or not is entirely decided by its thermal conductivity.

Heat conduction of aluminum does not vary much with the changes in temperature.

Conclusion

In this article we have discussed whether aluminum foil conducts electricity or not,is it a good conductor for electricity or not,is it an insulator or a conductor,how does aluminum foil conduct electricity – these questions briefly. Other than these questions structure and bonding of aluminum,its properties and uses of aluminum foil are also discussed in this article.

Ankita Biswas

I am Ankita. I have done my B.Sc in physics honours and my M.Sc in Electronics. Currently I am working as physics teacher in a Higher Secondary School. I am very enthusiastic about high energy physics field. I love to write complicated physics concepts in understandable and simple words.

Recent Posts