What is the electrical conductivity of copper like?

Copper is an excellent electrical conductor, only bettered by silver, explaining why it has been used in domestic electrical wiring for many years. The next most conductive metals are gold and aluminium, with gold being used in circuits and connectors and aluminium being used in industrial wiring due to its significantly lower cost.

The presence of any impurities, or deliberate alloying additions, will greatly reduce the electrical conductivity compared with pure metal. Hiduron 130 (DTS 900/4805, 2.1504) has an electrical conductivity of 1.71 (mΩ/mm2), which is around 10% of the conductivity of pure copper.

Among non-precious metals, copper has the highest conductivity meaning it can carry more electrical current than other non-precious metals.

When tin, magnesium, chromium, iron or zirconium is added to make alloys with copper, the strength of the metal increases but its conductivity drops.

Manufacturing copper alloys with high conductivity requires making alloys that are resistant to overheating when they carry an electrical current which is crucial in energy transmission, as higher heat affects the resistance.

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