Why Do Metals Conduct Electricity?

Copper wire

Having the right material in place as an electrical conductor will ensure a steady current through your circuits. You may have heard that certain metals are great conductors, by why do metals conduct electricity? And, are there certain metals that conduct electricity better than others? Find out which metals are right for your next at-home electrical project, and then equip yourself with the right materials to get the job done right with the help of the professionals at Gateway Cable Company today!

How Do Metals Conduct Electricity?

Since they are widely used in many materials, how do metals conduct electricity? Metals have an atomic structure, allowing electrons to move more freely and to create a higher electrical current when charged. Metals also have certain properties that make them better conductors than other elements:

  • Malleability: Metals can be made into thin sheets without breaking and their durability is effective for protective covering for machines, electronic components, structural platforms, and more.
  • Ductility: Metals can be made into small wires without snapping. 
  • Tensile Strength: Metals are great at resisting tension and are commonly used as a reinforcing component for concrete.
  • Conductivity: Metals with fewer moving valence electrons will have less resistance and conduct a higher electrical current.
  • Reactivity: Metals can work with other metals and elements to form alloys, however, gold and silver are pure elements and are non-reactive with some materials. 

Do All Metals Conduct Electricity?

Now that you know how metals conduct electricity, you might be wondering, do all metals conduct electricity? Every type of metal can conduct electricity, but there are certain types that are much better conductors than others. So, now the question is: which metals conduct electricity the best? There are a variety of options like zinc, nickel, brass, bronze, iron, platinum, steel, lead, and even stainless steel. However, there are four metals that conduct electric currents the best. Here’s a breakdown of each:

  • Silver: Silver has the highest conductivity rates over other metals, but it can be expensive and has a low resistance to heat. 
  • Copper: Copper has high electrical conductivity; it’s malleable and ductile, which also makes it more reactive with other metals. 
  • Gold: Gold is a great electrical conductor, however, it only reacts with certain metals and is scarcely used in many popular electrical materials due to its much higher cost. 
  • Aluminum: Aluminum is an effective soft, non-magnetic electrical conductor that is widely used in many materials, but it can create an electrically resistant surface in the electrical connection, which can lead to overheating.

Find the Materials You Need at Gateway Cable Company 

After learning how and why metals conduct electricity, you can find more helpful features to help you easily tackle your next cable or electrical project with knowledge and ease. You’ll also find that our online inventory is home to quality parts like connectors, adaptors, cables, and more to provide the perfect fit for your next project. We’ll even order special items you need when you request a quote online. If you have any questions, our electrical experts are here to assist you. Contact us today!