The Best Metals for Heat Conductivity

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Of the ways to conduct heat, metals are the best. Their thermal conductivity is high, with some conducting heat better than others. The best metals for heat conductivity are gold, aluminum, copper and silver, and this is measured through watts per-kelvin meter, or k (W/m K).

Gold

  • Gold is among the best metals for heat conductivity because it does not oxidize when exposed to air, and it is very resistant to corrosion, thus making it useful in printed circuit boards and electrical connectors. It is also due to its ability to conduct heat efficiently that gold is used in a variety of appliances ranging from televisions, cellular phones and even washing machines.

Aluminum

  • Aluminum is one of the best metals for heat conductivity next to copper, and is ideal for applications where heat exchangers are required. Because it is so reactive, aluminum is useful as an additive or catalyst in chemical fusions, which can include use in ammonium nitrate explosives to intensify the explosive power. In more mundane settings, aluminum is also used in frying pans and cooking pots to conduct heat.

Copper

  • Copper is considered the best metal for heat conductivity. In part, this is due to the fact that it has a high melting point and does not rust. It is used in heat sinks, in televisions, computers and disk drives. It is also used as the coating on the bottom of saucepans, in car radiators, hot water tanks and under-floor heating systems.

Silver

  • Silver also has a high resistance to corrosion and is used in an array of high-end electronics and circuit boards. It is often used in conductive pastes that conduct heat away from a computer's cpu. Silver-coated quartz tiles provided protection to NASA's Magellan spacecraft that orbited Venus.

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