Electrical Resistivity Table for Common Materials

Table of the electrical resistivity for materials that may be used in electrical and electronic components, including the resistivity of copper, resistivity of brass and the resistivity of aluminium.

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The table of electrical resistivity below contains the values of resistivity for many of the substances widely used in electronics. In particular it includes the resistivity of copper, the resistivity of aluminium, gold and silver.

The electrical resistivity is particularly important because it will determine its electrical performance and hence whether it is suitable for use in many electrical components. For example it will be seen that the resistivity of copper, the resistivity of aluminium and that of silver and gold determines where these metals are used.

Table of Electrical Resistivity for Common Materials
Material Electrical Resistivity at 20°C
Ohm metres
Aluminium 2.8 x 10-8
Antimony 3.9 x 10-7
Bismuth 1.3 x 10-6
Brass ~0.6 - 0.9 x 10-7
Cadmium 6 x 10-8
Cobalt 5.6 x 10-8
Copper 1.7 x 10-8
Gold 2.4 x 10-8
Carbon (Graphite) 1 x 10-5
Germanium 4.6 x 10-1
Iron 1.0 x 10-7
Lead 1.9 x 10-7
Manganin 4.2 x 10-7
Nichrome 1.1 x 10-6
Nickel 7 x 10-8
Palladium 1.0 x 10-7
Platinum 0.98 x 10-7
Quartz 7 x 1017
Silicon 6.4 x 102
Silver 1.6 x 10-8
Tantalum 1.3 x 10-7
Tin 1.1 x 10-7
Tungsten 4.9 x 10-8
Zinc 5.5 x 10-8

It can be seen that the resistivity of copper and the resistivity of brass both low and in view of their cost, relative to silver and gold, they become cost effective materials to use for many .

Aluminium occasionally and particularly copper are used for their low levels of resistivity. Most wire used these days for interconnections is made from copper as it offers a low level of resistivity at an acceptable cost.

The resistivity of gold is also important because gold is used in some critical areas despite its cost. Often gold plating is found on high quality low current connectors where it ensures the lowest contact resistance. The gold plating is very thin, but even so it is able to provide the required performance in the connectors.

Silver is not so widely used because of its cost and because it tarnishes which this can result in higher contact resistances. The oxide can also under some circumstances act as a rectifier which may cause some annoying problems in RF circuits, generating what are termed passive intermodulation products. However it was used in some coils for radio transmitters where the low electrical resistivity of the silver reduced the losses.

Other materials in the electrical resistivity table may not have such obvious applications. Tantalum appears in the table because it is used in capacitors - nickel and palladium are used in the end connections for many surface mount components such as capacitors. Quartz finds its main use as a piezo-electric resonant element. Quartz crystals are used as frequency determining elements in many oscillators where its high value of Q enables very frequency stable circuits to be made. They are similarly used in high performance filters.

Electrical resistivity of materials is a key electrical parameter. It governs whether materials can be used effectively in many electrical and electronic applications.

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