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Gold is a worse conductor than copper and silver (and more expensive), but resists oxidation much
better. As a result gold is used to plate connectors, whose connection may degrade if the surface is

Gold wire is also used in chips to bond the interconnects between the silicon and the chip package.
Gold is used as it resists oxidation when bonding. Copper can also be used, but would need to be
done in an inert atmosphere like nitrogen.

As you mentioned, silver has a higher conductivity than copper, but isn't used widely due to its cost.
But it does have a few niche uses where extremely low conductivity is desired, such as in sensitive
scientific instruments; cryogenics (where it's desirable to have minimal heat generated in wires); and
also in electrical contacts in switches, where the softness of silver means and relatively good-
conducting silver-oxide makes it a good choice for metal-to-metal connections

Aluminum conducts less well compared with copper - for a given size of cable copper will conduct
better; but because aluminum actually has a better weight-to-conductiity ratio, aluminum wire with
the same conductivity as copper wire would be physicall thicker, but would still work out to be
lighter, and probably cheaper too.

Due to this, many overhead power lines are made of aluminum - the lower weight is a benefit, and
physical size isn't an issue.

Some aircraft wiring is made of aluminum to save weight; as are some motor windings where weight
is important.

Aluminum is also sometimes found in old domestic wiring from the 60s or 70s during a copper
shortage that caused copper prices to rise.

Tungsten is used when you actually want the wire to have resistance, and also have it not melt even
when white-hot, as is the case in incandescent lamps.

There are many different alloys used in electrical conductors. Here are some examples:
- Nickel-chrome (nichrome) wire, like tungsten, can survive high temperatures, and the higher
resistance is desirable. Being cheaper than tungsten, is used in heater wires, where the wire doesn't
need to get white-hot.
- Solder, which is an alloy of tin and lead, or other mixes of metals in the case of lead-free solder, is
used for bonding electrical components to copper pads on PCBs. The low melting temperature of tin-
lead makes it suitable for this task.
- Cryogenic wire is often phosphor bronze (copper, tin, phosphorus), where the resistance of this
alloy doesn't change much at very low temperatures.

some had cadmium addition or cadmium and tins additions to improve strength for wires under tension. just increases softening resistance and improves creep resistance at higher operating temperatures.. E.. and easily replaceable and produced from ETP or OF copper Air-frame conductors use a higher strength grade resistant to vibration failures. hi purity copper at a very high price claiming improved sound from wired speakers. Silver is added to copper for conductors in small quantities up to 28 ounces per ton to improve softening characteristics where the conductors need to keep their strength at higher temperatures where normal copper would soften. or both. B.95% min or higher) to negate the negative effect of impurity metals on electrical conductivity. relatively expensive compared to ETP grade. C.. Copper cadmium ( 1 %Cd ) wire was used in applications where twisting and vibration and flexing would cause normal ETP to break after awhile. 45 years as copper alloy process and application metallurgist Answered Dec 3. and conductors in electric blankets.Tom Chandler. but with regard to the standard copper conductor used in general wiring... Some speaker cables are produced from Oxygen Free. D. today) but this is a common standard. The highest volume producers of ETP copper produce this grade of copper with an addition of 100 . There are some alloys today with Mg additions to achieve the same purpose. Also for overhead conductors for electric commuter trains use a variety of alloys in addition to regular copper depending on the installation. For the most part this copper is ETP (Electrolytic Tough Pitch Copper) refined to a min. which is a bit more costly and the purity may be higher( 99. Now these are modular.. These alloys have small additions of Cadmium and or Chromium and add a lot of reliability to aircraft operation. Although these are used in some tough conductor applications.. 2015 Yuan covered the topic well in general . There are grades of oxygen free copper produced by a different method . This wire is also used as magnet wire in motors and generators. but not typical due to cost. Twenty years ago and earlier. some clarification and additional notes: A. the major application is for spot welding electrodes.450 ppm oxygen that oxidizes dissolved impurities of other metals to increase the electrical conductivity of the conductor. typical applications in US were telephone cords( those old twisty ones ).speaker wire. These grades are heat treatable grades that are very resistant to softening with relatively high strength.( for automotive assembly and many other welding apps) . I wrote a couple patents for silver bearing copper for overhead centenary wire for use in NE extension of AMTRAK's NE corridor from Boston to New Haven. Cu content of 99. There are a few other high performance materials available for very special applications that have additions of Chromium. and many more. These can be substituted for ETP if the conductivity meets the standards. CT. Silver DOES NOT increase the electrical conductivity of the wire.90% (typically better. Zirconium .

studied Electrical Engineering Answered Dec 10. 1. 1. AAC (All Aluminum Conductor)  It has lesser strength and more sag per span length than any other category  Therefore.e. Copper 2. Cadmium copper The choice of particular material will depend upon the cost. at distribution level  Cost of ACSR is equal to AAC.Akshay Nikam. An ideal conductor has following features. We generally use stell cored aluminum conductors results in a lighter and more economical line. the required electrical and mechanical properties and the local conditions. 2016 Conductor is a physical medium to carry electrical energy form one place to other. it is applicable at distribution level  It has slightly better conductivity at lower voltages than ACSR i. it is used for lesser span i. It has least cost without sacrificing other factors Overhead wires or household wires. Aluminum 3. ACSR (Aluminum Conductor Steel Reinforced)  It is used for longer spans keeping sag minimum. It has least specific gravity i. it is used for longer spans. 1. weight / unit volume 4. The choice of conductor depends on the cost and efficiency.  It is most expansive.  The presence of formation of alloy makes it expensive.  Due to stronger tensile strength than AAC. The most commonly used conductor materials for overhead lines are 1. Steel cored aluminum 4. Galvanised steel 5. river crossing.  It can be used in distribution level i.  Its strength is equal to ACSR but due to absence of steel it is light in weight. swamps etc. It has maximum electrical conductivity 2. Conductors for overhead lines are always bare. 1. .e. It is an important component of overhead and underground electrical transmission and distribution systems.e.  The difference between ACSR and AAAC is the weight. it is used in transmission and sub-transmission where lighter support structure is required such as mountains. Aluminum Reinforce)  It is cheaper than AAAC but pro to corrosion. AAAC (All Aluminum Alloy Conductor)  It has same construction as AAC except the alloy.e. It has high tensile strength so that it can withstand mechanical stresses 3. Being lighter in weight. 1.  It has lesser sag than AAC. ACAR (Aluminum Conductor.

g. Aluminum is inherently corrosion resistant due to the thin oxide layer that is formed when aluminum is exposed to the air. It is also used in applications where space restrictions are not a large factor.  The number of strands depends on the application. they may be 7. Silver has better resistivity characteristics than either copper and aluminum.  If the Al and St strands are separated by a filler such as paper then this kind of ACSR is used in EHV lines and called expanded ACSR. phosphorous) can significantly affect conductivity. IACS (International Annealed Copper Stand)  It is 100 % pure conductor and it is standard for reference Cables In cable generally tinned copper or aluminum conductors are used and are usually stranded in order to provide flexibility to the cable. but being a precious metal.1. Copper is typically used more commonly in industrial plants.6 in order to have the equivalent resistance of copper conductors.g. Therefore. copper and aluminum. In order to transmit electrical current with as few losses as possible.8 Ωmm2 / m. However the high density of copper makes it less flexible than aluminum. Aluminum is typically used for overhead aerial lines because of its light weight and high conductivity. because of their low resistivity characteristics. underground cables . e. 91 or more. Aluminum also performs better than copper in sulfur laden environments (in terms of corrosion resistance). and small traces of impurities (e. generating stations and portable equipment because of its mechanical properties. Copper The resistivity of Copper is in the order of 1. prevent breakage and minimize skin effect. There are two main cable conductor materials used in practice.g. it is more malleable and flexible than copper. coupled with their relatively low cost. Copper conductors also need to be very pure. which makes it roughly 60% less conductive than copper. offshore platforms and aircraft Aluminum The resistivity of aluminum is around 2. However.7 . The number of strands are shown by x/y/z. a cable conductor needs to be of low resistivity (or high conductivity).8Ωmm2 / m. e.  Strands provide flexibility. where ‘x’ is number of aluminum strands. 19.  Expanded ACSR has larger diameter and hence lower corona losses. ‘y’ is number of steel strands and ‘z’ is diameter of each strand. Additionally. aluminum conductors need to be oversized by a factor of 1. is far too costly. Furthermore. 1. Copper is a denser material than aluminum and has a higher melting point. 61. it is used in applications where space restrictions abound. aluminum is also 50% lighter in mass than copper so it has a weight advantage. 37.  It may consist of 7 or 19 strands of steel surrounding by aluminum strands concentrically. hence has better performance under short circuit conditions and is mechanically stronger.

Materials with high electron mobility are good conductors and materials with low electron mobility are not good conductors. 2017 Electric conductors are materials with movable electrically charged particles. However. the more free electrons in a metal. referred to as "electrons" in metals. which .What Metals Make Good Conductors of Electricity? By Victoria Gorski. ALUMINUM Aluminum. aluminum has the tendency to form an electrically resistant oxide surface in electrical connections. when compared by unit weight. so it will normally be used when a large amount of conductive material is required. instead referred to as "insulators. silver is more expensive than other materials and is not normally used unless it is required for specialized equipment like satellites or circuit boards. the greater its conductivity. the electricity passed through it must be able to move the electrons. Most wires are copper-plated and electromagnet cores are normally wrapped with copper wire. Aluminum material is used in household products or in wiring but it is not a common choice because it has several structural flaws." COPPER AND SILVER Silver is the best conductor of electricity because it contains a higher number of movable atoms (free electrons). Updated April 25. For a material to be a good conductor. For example. Copper is also easy to solder and wrap into wires. When an electric charge is applied to a metal at certain points the electrons will move and allow electricity to pass through. Copper is less conductive than silver but is cheaper and commonly used as an effective conductor in household appliances. is actually more conductive than copper and costs less.

steel or copper may oxidize (corrode) when in prolonged conduct with oxygen. which is also an alloy. Some materials may receive gold plating as an electric conductor. slightly more conductive. GOLD Gold is a good electric conductor and does not tarnish like other metals when exposed to the air -. which is also a conductor. . cheaper to purchase and still retains value after use. and is an inflexible metal which is highly corrosive when exposed to air.may cause the connection to overheat. Brass. or use a small amount of gold which then receives plating in another material to reduce manufacturing costs. Gold is especially expensive and is only used for certain materials. is a tensile metal which makes it easy to bend and mold into different parts for smaller machines. steel is used to encase other conductors or for large structure. instead. It is difficult to cast and is not used in small products or machines. while steel alloy is only valuable when first bought. STEEL AND BRASS Steel is an alloy of iron.for example. It is less corrosive than steel. such as circuit board components or small electrical connectors. Aluminum is instead used for high-voltage transmission lines (such as overhead phone cables) which can be encased in steel for additional protection.