Science Questions

Why is copper so good at conducting heat?

Tue, 17th Jul 2012

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Question

Steven asked:

Why is copper so good at conducting heat?

Answer

Dominic -   It’s all about having charge carriers in the metal which can conduct both electricity and heat.  So, if you put energy into those, they flow through the metal and conduct both heat and electricity through it.

Chris -   So if something has got electrons, like copper, loads of them that can move around very freely, when you make it hot they're going to vibrate a lot and move around carrying those vibrations and transmitting those vibrations i.e. heat through the material in just the same way as they would migrate in an electric field.

Dominic -   Exactly, they’re not bound atoms, they can move all the way through the material.

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Dominic,
If it's about having charge carriers, can you let me know why beryllia and diamond are so good at conducting heat? Bored chemist, Tue, 17th Jul 2012

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