Let's examine the periodic table again to see which metals best conduct electricity.Materials able to conduct electricity have a certain number of valence electrons in each atom.In an atom, the valence shell exists.Conductors generally have one (sometimes two) or two (sometimes three) valence electrons.

There are ONE valence electron in copper, gold, platinum, and silver.Metals that have TWO valence electrons are iron and steel.Aluminium is an excellent conductor despite its three valence electrons.Silicon is a semiconductor since it has four valence electrons.

Electric Conductivity

Metals conduct electricity because of metal bonding.Metallic bonds are characterized by atoms surrounded by an electron sea that moves constantly.A moving sea of electrons allows the metal to conduct electricity and move freely among the ions.

Most metals conduct electricity to a certain extent. Some metals are more highly conductive than others. Copper, silver, aluminum, gold, steel, and brass are common conductors of electricity. The most highly conductive metals are silver, copper, and gold.

Conductive Order of Metals

A list of electric conductivity includes alloys as well as pure elements.

Best to Worst – Which Metal is the Best Conductor of Electricity

(equally sized)

1Silver (Pure)
2Copper (Pure)
3Gold (Pure)
4Aluminum
5Zinc
6Nickel
7Brass
8Bronze
9Iron (Pure)
10Platinum
11Steel (Carbonized)
12Lead (Pure)
13Stainless Steel

Silver Conductivity

“Silver is the best conductor of electricity because it contains a higher number of movable atoms (free electrons). For a material to be a good conductor, the electricity passed through it must be able to move the electrons; the more free electrons in a metal, the greater its conductivity. However, silver is more expensive than other materials and is not normally used unless it is required for specialized equipment like satellites or circuit boards”, explains Sciencing.com.

Copper Conductivity

Copper is less conductive than silver, however it is cheaper and is used in household appliances as an effective conductor.Electromagnet cores are typically wrapped with copper wire and are most often copper-plated.In addition to being easy to solder and wrap into wires, copper is often used when a large amount of conductive material is needed, according to Sciencing.

Gold Conductivity

.The various characteristics of gold make it perfect for specific purposes.

Aluminum Conductivity

Copper conducts electricity better than aluminum, but aluminum does not conduct electricity as well as copper.Aluminum forms a chemically resistant oxide surface on electrical connections, which can cause the connection to heat up.A high-voltage transmission line enclosed in steel for additional protection uses aluminum.

Zinc Conductivity

ScienceViews.com explains that “Zinc is a blue-gray, metallic element, with the atomic number 30. At room temperature, zinc is brittle, but it becomes malleable at 100 C. Malleable means it can be bent and shaped without breaking. Zinc is a moderately good conductor of electricity”.

Nickel Conductivity

Conductivity is a common property of metals.An element with high electrical conductivity is nickel.

Brass Conductivity

Smaller machines are often made of brass because it is easy to bend and mold into different shapes.Due to its slight electrical conductivity, cost savings, and less corrosive properties, it has some advantages over steel. It also retains value after use.Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc.

Bronze Conductivity

Bronze is an electrically conductive alloy, rather than an element.

Iron Conductivity

Since iron has metallic bonds, electrons are free to move around more than one atom at a time.Delocalization occurs here.Therefore, iron is a good conductor.

Platinum Conductivity

Gold, silver, and copper are less ductile and electrically conduct than platinum.This element is harder than gold and less malleable than silver.This metal resists corrosion well, is stable at high temperatures, and has excellent electrical properties.

Steel Conductivity

Steel is a conductor and an alloy of iron. Steel is typically used to encase other conductors because it is an inflexible and highly corrosive metal when exposed to air.

Lead Conductivity

“Although lead compounds can be good insulators, pure lead is a metal that conducts electricity, making it a poor insulator. Lead’s resistivity is 22 billionths of a meter. It sees use in electrical contacts because, being a relatively soft metal, it deforms easily when tightened and makes a solid connection. For example, the connectors for car batteries are typically made of lead. A car’s starter motor draws over 100 amperes of current briefly, requiring a robust connection to the battery” explains Sciencing.com.

Stainless Steel Conductivity

Stainless steel is a relatively good conductor of electricity, as are all metals.

Factors That Affect Electrical Conductivity

Certain factors can affect how well a material conducts electricity. ThoughtCo explains these factors here:

Temperature: Impurities:Crystal structure and phases: Electromagnetic fields:Frequency: 

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