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Electrical resistivity (also known as specific electrical resistance) is a measure of how strongly a material opposes the flow of electric current. A low resistivity indicates a material that readily allows the movement of electrical charge. The SI unit of electrical resistivity is the ohm metre.


[edit] Definitions

The electrical resistivity ρ (rho) of a material is usually defined by the following:

<math>\rho={{RA}\over l}</math>


ρ is the static resistivity (measured in ohm metres)
R is the electrical resistance of a uniform specimen of the material (measured in ohms)
l is the length of the specimen (measured in metres)
A is the cross-sectional area of the specimen (measured in square metres)

Electrical resistivity can also be defined as:

<math>\rho={E \over J}</math>


E is the magnitude of the electric field (measured in volts per metre)
J is the magnitude of the current density (measured in amperes per square metre)

Finally, electrical resistivity is also defined as the inverse of the conductivity σ (sigma), of the material, or:

<math>\rho = {1 \over \sigma}</math>.

[edit] Table of resistivities

This table shows the resistivity and temperature coefficient of various materials. The values are correct at 20 degrees Celsius.

MaterialResistivity (ohm meters)Temperature coefficient per kelvin *
Silver<ref name="serway">Serway, Raymond A. (1998). Principles of Physics, 2nd ed, Fort Worth, Texas; London: Saunders College Pub, p602. ISBN 0-03-020457-7.

</ref>||1.59 × 10-8||.0038

Copper<ref name="serway"/>1.72 × 10-8.0039
Gold<ref name="serway"/>2.44 × 10-8.0034
Aluminium<ref name="serway"/>2.82 × 10-8.0039
Tungsten<ref name="serway"/>5.6 × 10-8.0045
Iron<ref name="serway"/>1.0 × 10-7.005
Brass<ref name=""/>0.8 × 10-7.0015
Platinum<ref name="serway"/>1.1 × 10-7.00392
Lead<ref name="serway"/>2.2 × 10-7.0039
Manganin<ref name="giancoli">Giancoli, Douglas C. (1995). Physics: principles with applications, 4th ed, London: Prentice Hall. ISBN 0-13-102153-2.
(see also Table of Resistivity)

</ref>||4.82 × 10-7||.000002

Constantan<ref name="giancoli"/>4.9 × 10-7.00001
Mercury<ref name="giancoli"/>9.8 × 10-7.0009
Nichrome<ref name="serway"/><ref>Ni,Fe,Cr alloy commonly used in heating elements.</ref>1.10 × 10-6.0004
Carbon<ref name="serway"/><ref name="semi">The resistivity of semiconductors depends strongly on the presence of impurities in the material.</ref>3.5 × 10-5-.0005
Germanium<ref name="serway"/><ref name="semi"/>4.6 × 10-1-.048
Silicon<ref name="serway"/><ref name="semi"/>6.40 × 102-.075
Glass<ref name="serway"/>1010 to 1014nil
Hard rubber<ref name="serway"/>approximately 1013nil
Sulfur<ref name="serway"/>1015nil
Quartz (fused)<ref name="serway"/>7.5 × 1017nil
PETapproximately 1 × 1020nil
Teflonapproximately 1 × 1022 to 1 × 1024nil
  • The numbers in this column increase or decrease the significand portion of the resistivity. For example, at 21°C (294.15K), the resistivity of silver is 1.5938 x 10-8

[edit] Temperature dependence

In general, electrical resistivity of metals increases with temperature, while the resistivity of semiconductors decreases with increasing temperature. In both cases, electron-phonon interactions can play a key role. At high temperatures, the resistance of a metal increases linearly with temperature. As the temperature of a metal is reduced, the temperature dependence of resistivity follows a power law function of temperature. Mathematically the temperature dependence of the resistivity <math>\rho</math> of a metal is given by the Bloch-Gruneissen formula :


where <math>\rho(0)</math> is the residual resistivity due to defect scattering, A is a constant that depends on the velocity of electrons at the fermi surface, the Debye radius and the number density of electrons in the metal. <math>\Theta_R</math> is the Debye temperature as obtained from resistivity measurements and matches very closely with the values of Debye temperature obtained from specific heat measurements. n is an integer that depends upon the nature of interaction:

  1. n=5 implies that the resistance is due to scattering of electrons by phonons (as it is for simple metals)
  2. n=3 implies that the resistance is due to s-d electron scattering (as is the case for transition metals)
  3. n=2 implies that the resistance is due to electron-electron interaction.

As the temperature of the metal is sufficiently reduced (so as to 'freeze' all the phonons), the resistivity usually reaches a constant value, known as the residual resistivity. This value depends not only on the type of metal, but on its purity and thermal history. The value of the residual resistivity of a metal is decided by its impurity concentration. Some materials lose all electrical resistivity at sufficiently low temperatures, due to an effect known as superconductivity.

An even better approximation of the temperature dependence of the resistivity of a semiconductor is given by the Steinhart-Hart equation:

<math>1/T = A + B \ln(\rho) + C (\ln(\rho))^3 \,</math>

where A, B and C are the so-called Steinhart-Hart coefficients.

This equation is used to calibrate thermistors.

[edit] Complex resistivity

When analysing the response of materials to alternating electric fields, as is done in certain types of tomography, it is necessary to replace resistivity with a complex quantity called impeditivity, in analogy to impedance. Impeditivity is the sum of a real component, the resistivity, and an imaginary component, the reactivity (reactance) [1].

[edit] Sources


  • Paul Tipler (2004). Physics for Scientists and Engineers: Electricity, Magnetism, Light, and Elementary Modern Physics (5th ed.). W. H. Freeman. ISBN 0-7167-0810-8.

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

de:Spezifischer Widerstand es:Resistividad it:Resistività elettrica nl:Soortelijke weerstand ja:電気抵抗率 pl:Rezystywność sl:specifična upornost fi:Ominaisvastus sv:Resistivitet


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