Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory Office of Science NEWTON's Homepage NEWTON's Homepage
NEWTON, Ask A Scientist!
NEWTON Home Page NEWTON Teachers Visit Our Archives Ask A Question How To Ask A Question Question of the Week Our Expert Scientists Volunteer at NEWTON! Frequently Asked Questions Referencing NEWTON About NEWTON About Ask A Scientist Education At Argonne Conductors
Name: N/A
Status: N/A
Age: N/A
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: N/A


Question:
Hello, my name is Michael Katz-Hyman and I am doing a science project on conductors. I was wondering what is the best conductor?



Replies:
If you mean solid substances at room temperature, silver. Otherwise, one of the superconductors, but I do not know which.

christopher grayce


Well, this is outside of my field but if I recall correctly the best pure element conductor at room temperature is silver -- with copper and gold doing pretty well also. The reason for all the qualifiers is that conductivity is a function of temperature as well as the chemical makeup of a substance. You have probably heard of superconductors which are the superstars of conductivity -- perfect conductors of current -- but only at low temperatures (more than 150 degrees below zero). An interesting aside is that during WWII silver became very scarce in the US because the government used large quantities of it for wire at, believe, Oakridge National Laboratory. Copper was not good enough for this particular application.

gregory r bradburn



Click here to return to the Physics Archives

NEWTON is an electronic community for Science, Math, and Computer Science K-12 Educators, sponsored and operated by Argonne National Laboratory's Educational Programs, Andrew Skipor, Ph.D., Head of Educational Programs.

For assistance with NEWTON contact a System Operator (help@newton.dep.anl.gov), or at Argonne's Educational Programs

NEWTON AND ASK A SCIENTIST
Educational Programs
Building 360
9700 S. Cass Ave.
Argonne, Illinois
60439-4845, USA
Update: June 2012
Weclome To Newton

Argonne National Laboratory