Good conductors are those materials that allow current or heat to pass through them very swiftly or those with the minimum resistance. Let us go through their examples.
23 useful good conductors examples are:
- Sea water
- Water with dirt
- Lemon juice
- Beryllium oxide
- Human body
Examples of good conductors
Good conductors of both electricity and heat are decided in terms of their values of electrical conductivity and thermal conductivity. Let us discuss the examples of good conductors.
Silver has the highest electrical conductivity as well as the highest thermal conductivity among all metals. The values of electrical conductivity and thermal conductivity of silver are 62.1 x 10⁶ Siemens per meter and 420 W/m.K respectively. Hence it is the best conductor of both electricity and heat.
Copper has the second highest electrical conductivity and thermal conductivity among all metals. The electrical conductivity of copper is 58.7 x 10⁶ Siemens per meter and the thermal conductivity of copper is 386 W/m.K.
Gold has the third highest electrical conductivity of 44.2 x 10⁶ Siemens per meter and thermal conductivity of 317 W/m.K among all metals.
Aluminum is another example of a good conductor of both electricity and heat having an electrical conductivity of 36.9 x 10⁶ Siemens per meter and thermal conductivity of 237 W/m.K.
Electrical conductivity of 16.6 x 10⁶ Siemens per meter and thermal conductivity of 116 W/m.K make it easy for zinc to pass both current and heat swiftly.
Mercury is a liquid metal at room temperature that conducts current. It has an electrical conductivity of 1.1 x 10⁶ Siemens per meter and thermal conductivity of 8 W/m.K.
Magnesium is a highly conducting metal whose electrical conductivity is 2.15 x 10⁷ Siemens per meter and thermal conductivity is 156 W/m.K at 20℃.
Molybdenum carries current ad heat very easily as it has a high electrical conductivity of 17.9 × 10⁶ Siemens per meter at 20℃ and high thermal conductivity of 142 W/m.K at 20℃.
Electrical conductivity of cadmium is 14×10⁶ Siemens/m and the thermal conductivity of Cd is 97 w/m.K. Both these conductivities are lower than Cu and silver but it conducts heat and electricity.
Steel has finite values of electrical conductivity of 10.1 × 10⁶ Siemens per meter and thermal conductivity of 80 W/m.K. Hence it is considered a moderate conductor.
Iron has an electrical conductivity of 10 x 10⁶ Siemens per meter and thermal conductivity of around 80 W/m.K. Hence it is a good conductor.
Electrical conductivity of 15.9 × 10⁶ Siemens per meter and thermal conductivity of 150 W/m.K make brass a good conductor.
Nickel having 14.3× 10⁶ Siemens per meter of electrical conductivity and 91 W/m.K of thermal conductivity is referred to as a good conductor.
Sodium chloride is used to be dissolved in seawater. It breaks into Na ⁺ and Cl⁻ ions. These ions carry electricity. This is why seawater is another example of a good conductor of electricity.
Platinum is a more malleable metal than gold and silver. It has stable conducting properties. Its electrical conductivity is 9.43 x 10⁶ Siemens per meter and its thermal conductivity is 77.8 W/m.K at 20℃.
Bronze is a metal alloy of copper and tin. This malleable and ductile alloy has an electrical conductivity of 7.4 x 10⁶ Siemens per meter and thermal conductivity is 71 W/m.K at 20℃. Hence it conducts heat and electricity well.
Water with dirt
Dirty water is used to have contaminants dissolved in it. Some of these contaminants are electrolytes. This is why it conducts electricity.
Lemon juice has citric acid present in it. Acid means there must be excess H+ ions that carry electric current.
Graphite is an allotrope of carbon with a crystal structure. It has c=c bonds present in it. Other than this it has free electrons and finite values of electrical and thermal conductivities. Hence it conducts both electricity and heat.
Diamond is the best conductor of heat having a thermal conductivity of 2000-2200 W/m.K. The thermal conductivity of diamond is almost 4 times that of copper.
Beryllium oxide has a higher thermal conductivity of 325 W/m.K. this is why it is an example of a good conductor of heat. It is used in semiconductor devices for this higher value of thermal conductivity.
Mica being a non-metal helps in transferring heat from one atom to another atom through the vibrations of its atoms.
Electric current passes at ease through the human body as it is free from resistance. Hence it is also an example of a good conductor of electricity.
When conductors are considered as good conductors?
There is a difference between conductors and good conductors based on their conductivity. Let us focus on the conditions that turn a conductor into good conductor.
Conductors are considered as good conductors when their electrical conductivity and thermal conductivity both are very high. Conductors with very low resistivity are also good conductors of both current and heat. They should also have lower values of temperature coefficient.
Usually highly malleable and ductile metals are good conductors of both electric energy and heat energy.
Why are metals considered good conductors?
Metals carry heat and electricity very easily. It means that they are good conductors. Let us know the reasons behind conduction properties of metals.
Metals are considered as good conductors due to the availability of free electrons. Metal structures usually have delocalized electrons moving freely around them in a random direction. Being connected to a battery these electrons start travelling in a fixed direction.
The random flow of electrons requires energy to move in a fixed direction. This energy is supplied by the battery. The direction of the flow is from the -ve to the +ve side of the battery.
Importance of good conductors
Good conductors do have vital uses. Let us have a look at the significance of good conductors.
Good conductors do have importance in making wires. The reason is current always prefers a resistance free path to flow through it. Good conductors do have less resistances. Due to the low resistances they dissipate less power and the power loss is minimum.
Electric power consumption is proportional to the resistance. Hence using a bad conductor will lead to huge power loss. To prevent this loss good conductors are used.
Uses of good conductors in real life
Good conductors are used to serve several purposes. The uses are:
- Cooking utensils,motor engines,electrical wiring,pistons and cylinders are made using aluminum. Aluminum is a good conductor of both heat and electricity.
- The most important use of copper is in making wires. Electric current passes through the copper wires very swiftly.
In this article, 23 examples of good conductors are discussed. Other than these, the condition when a conductor can be considered as a good conductor,why metals are good conductors,importance and uses of good conductors are explained briefly.