The Naked Scientists

The Naked Scientists Forum

Author Topic: Are there any better electrical conductors than Silver  (Read 4670 times)

Offline syhprum

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 3818
  • Thanked: 19 times
    • View Profile
Traditionally Silver has been considered to be the best electrical conductor, has any recent research found anything better ?


 

Offline CliffordK

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 6321
  • Thanked: 3 times
  • Site Moderator
    • View Profile
Re: Are there any better electrical conductors than Silver
« Reply #1 on: 23/04/2014 09:45:10 »
Super Conductors?
 

Offline alancalverd

  • Global Moderator
  • Neilep Level Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4707
  • Thanked: 153 times
  • life is too short to drink instant coffee
    • View Profile
Re: Are there any better electrical conductors than Silver
« Reply #2 on: 23/04/2014 09:58:07 »
Pyrolytic graphite. It's highly anisotropic, with amazingly good electrical and thermal conductivity in one plane but more like a semiconductor in the perpendicular direction.
 

Offline evan_au

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 4113
  • Thanked: 245 times
    • View Profile
Re: Are there any better electrical conductors than Silver
« Reply #3 on: 23/04/2014 10:01:36 »
At room temperature, graphene has slightly better conductivity than silver. However, graphene is a 2-dimensional conductor, and does not conduct well between the graphene layers.

"Better" can mean many things:
  • In terms of cost, aluminium is "better" than silver, and silver is better than graphene - if you want to make a wires of a given resistance. (Graphene currently has a ridiculous price, if you work it out per kg).
  • If mass is important for your application, then aluminium is "better" than silver.
  • If ease of making high-quality joins is important, then copper or silver is "better" than aluminium.
  • If ductility is important (and the quantity is small, as in semiconductor chips), gold is "best".
  • ...and Superconductors beat all the rest - if you can afford the cryogenic refrigeration and the space for all the thermal insulation.

See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electrical_conductivity#Resistivity_of_various_materials
« Last Edit: 23/04/2014 10:53:35 by evan_au »
 

Offline syhprum

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 3818
  • Thanked: 19 times
    • View Profile
Re: Are there any better electrical conductors than Silver
« Reply #4 on: 23/04/2014 16:48:19 »
Many thanks for bringing me up to date I suspected that some exotic modern materials might have a lower resistivity but as you say how you define best leads to several other materials
 

The Naked Scientists Forum

Re: Are there any better electrical conductors than Silver
« Reply #4 on: 23/04/2014 16:48:19 »

 

SMF 2.0.10 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines
SMFAds for Free Forums
 
Login
Login with username, password and session length