Some science behind the scenes

Electrical conductivity of various materials

Electrical conductivity or specific conductance measures a material's ability to conduct an electric current. The table below shows the conductivity of various natural materials at 20 °C (68 °F).  As you can see, anything that is metal is a good conductor.  Pure water in contrast is not a good conductor, but the conductivity of a solution of water is highly dependent on its concentration of dissolved salts and other chemicals that ionise in the solution. Electrical conductivity of water samples is used as an indicator of how salt-free, ion-free, or impurity-free the sample is; the purer the water, the lower the conductivity (the higher the resistivity).

Material

conductivity σ

[siemens/metre] at 20 °C

Silver

6.30×107

Copper

5.96×107

Gold

4.52×107

Aluminium

3.5×107

Calcium

2.98×107

Tungsten

1.79×107

Zinc

1.69×107

Nickel

1.43×107

Lithium

1.08×107

Iron

1.00×107

Platinum

9.43×106

Tin

9.17×106

Lead

4.55×106

Titanium

2.38×106

Manganin

2.07×106

Constantan

2.04×106

Mercury

1.02×106

Nichrome

9.09×105

Carbon (amorphous)

1.25 to 2×103

Carbon (graphite)

2 to 3×105 //basal  plane
3.3×102 // ⊥basal plane

Carbon (diamond)

~10-13

Germanium

2.17

Sea water

4.8

Drinking water

5×10-4 to 5×10-2

Silicon

1.56×10-3

Sulfur

10-16

Air

3 to 8 × 10-15

Quartz (fused)

1.3×10-18