Electrical Conductivity of Water Vs. Copper

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Water, in its pure form, is a poor conductor of electricity. Add some minerals, and its conductivity rises dramatically. Copper is one of the best conductors. It's used in most electric and electronic applications.

Definition

  • Conductivity is a substance's ability to carry an electric current. The higher the conductivity, measured in units of siemens per meter, the better electricity flows.

Conductivity of Copper

  • A metal with the second-highest conductivity after silver, copper's conductivity measures 59 x 10^6 siemens per meter.

Conductivity of Water

  • Water is normally an insulator that conducts electricity poorly. Pure water measures 5.5 x 10^-6 siemens per meter, or about ten trillionths that of copper. Sea water measures about 5 siemens per meter.

Water Solutions

  • When you mix water with dry substances, the solution of the two is often a better conductor than either by itself. Charged molecules called ions in the dry substance can move around in water, making a conductor.

Copper Uses

  • Most electrical conductors, connectors and related parts are made with copper because of its low cost, its ability to be drawn into fine wires and its high conductivity.

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References

  • Photo Credit Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of itchys
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