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5 Reasons Behind Why Metal Conduct Electricity! (Everyone Should Know)

10 Nov, 2021 135

Metals are good conductors of electricity - a statement you must have heard a hundred times at a young age. But being a science student, it is necessary to understand the logic behind it. "Why do metal conduct electricity?" is a concept that every child has learned in middle school, but it is often seen that students are still confused about this topic? Although it is a basic concept that everyone should know, let’s dive in to find out the answer to the questions. To have proper knowledge, first, it is necessary to know about metals and electricity.

Metals and Electricity: An in Depth Explanation

Metal - It is a kind of material when freshly prepared, polished, or fractured is a good conductor of heat and electricity. At room temperature, metal tends to be solid with the characteristics of lusture. Also, the metals are malleable and ductile. (These both terms mean the malleable can be harmed by the sheets and the ductile drawn into wire). Some of the common metals are iron, aluminum, and copper. Metals are important for the electricity in the electrical grid with many other services.

While studying metal, you would also know about the types of bonds that help the metal ions to move freely. These are covalent, ionic, and metallic. The covalent bond is formed when shared with 2 atoms. The ionic bonding helps in the complete transfer of valence electrons between the metal and non-metal. Metallic bonding is an electrostatic attractive force that occurs between conduction electrons and positively charged metal ions.

Electricity - It is a flow of electrical charge. It is known as the secondary source that gets the power from the conversion of other primary sources like oil, natural gas, coal, etc. Although primary energies are renewable and non-renewable, electricity is neither of them. Electricity is the finest invention to have happened in people’s lives. To understand it deeply, there are 2 types of electricity, static and current. Rubbing two or more objects to build up friction is called static electricity. On the other hand, the flow of electrical charge through the conductor across the electrical field is called current.

After knowing about the metals and electricity in-depth. Let’s know why metals are good conductors of electricity in the next section.

Why Are Metals Good Conductors of Electricity?

Now that you are familiar with the concept of metals and electricity, you are close enough to understand why are metals a good conductor of electricity. Metals are the ones that transfer electricity due to the free flow of electrons. The atoms of metal consist of valence electrons which move freely because they are present in the outer shell. So, these electrons help to transfer electricity and heat.

When the metal applies electricity, the valence electrons gain all the energy. These electrons move in a web-like structure These electrons travel like billiard balls and bump into each other. Metals are the only ones that conduct a large amount of electricity when there is no resistance in the way. It is the reason that metals are a good conductor of electricity.

Now you must have got it that, the more electricity will transfer, there will be more lightning near you. So, the people who think it’s just switched on and off system might have understood it well how electricity is generated through metals. Anyways, let’s move forward to learn which properties make a metal a good material to use for electrical wires?

Which Properties Make a Metal a Good Material to Use for Electrical Wires?

To understand the concept of metals and electricity in more depth, you must know the properties that make it a good material for electrical wires. There are 2 features of metals that are very good to use in electrical wires. Those are conductivity and ductility.

Now, that you have understood that metals are good conductors of electricity, let’s move ahead and gain some knowledge about conductivity. Different metals have various levels of conductivity. It is the ability to conduct the electricity in material via different electrons. So, the free the electrons have better chances of transmission. Here is the list in ascending order of conductivity:

  • Stainless steel
  • Lead
  • Carbon steel
  • Platinum
  • Iron
  • Bronze
  • Brass
  • Nickel
  • Zinc
  • Aluminum
  • Gold
  • Copper
  • Silver

The magnitude of electric conductivity will depend on the natural frequency of the element. The conductivity will surely increase the temperature since the atoms are excited at a higher temperature.

After knowing about the conductivity, let’s move forward with the second property, which is ductility. It refers to the ability to change the shapes especially when drawn into the wire to not lose strength and break down. It allows bending the material without any damage to the metals.

Both the terms, conductivity and ductilityare helpful in the creating of the wires. With the help of these, wires are tiny and are still able to transfer energy even if the distance is long. For example, copper is the preferred choice of material for making all kinds of wires due to its good conductivity, ductility, and affordable pricing.

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