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Resistanceandresistivity page4

Bulkproperties
Whenwesaythatcopperisaheaviermetalthanaluminium,wearecomparingtheir
densities.Inasimilarway,whenwesaythatcopperisabetterconductorthan
aluminium,wearecomparingtheirresistivities.

Densityandresistivityarebothbulkpropertiesofamaterial.Theirvaluedoesn't
dependonthesizeorshapeofaparticularsampleonlyonthematerialitself.

Resistivity:dependsonthematerialonly
Resistance:dependsonsizeandshapeaswellasonthematerial.

Picture2.2Thehighconductivityof Whatisresistivity?
coppermakesitsuitableforthis
electrodeholderwhichcarries Ineffect,theresistivityrepresentstheresistanceacrosstwooppositefacesofacubic
enormouscurrentstoasteelmaking
arcfurnace. metreofmaterial(inthesamewaythatdensityisthemassofacubicmetre).
Resistivitytellshowresistiveamaterialis.

Resistivityhasthesymbol(rhotorhymewithsnow)anditsunitsareohmmetres.

Quantity Symbol Unit


Resistivity (Greekletterrho) m(ohmmetre)

Resistance R

Theresistivityofpurecopperis1.7108 m

Noticethatthisisaverysmallnumber0.000000017 m.Thisisbecausethe

resistanceofacubicmetreofcopperwouldbenexttonothing.Thesmallerthe
resistivity,thebetterthematerialisatconductingelectricity.Resistivityistheinverse
ofconductivity(whichtellsushowgoodaconductoramaterialis).

Someresistivities
Table3showssomeresistivities.Youwillseethatresistivityvariesfromabout10
8 mtomorethan1016 mmorethan24ordersofmagnitude.Nootherpropertyof

materialsvariesoversuchawiderange.

Metal Resistivity/( m)
Material Resistivity/( m)

silver 1.6108 carbon 35to5000108


copper 1.7108 graphite 800108
aluminium 3.2108 germanium 0.65
lead 21.0108 silicon 2.3103
Picture2.2Graphofresistivitiesof
somemetals. manganin(alloy) 44.0108 pyrexglass 1012
eureka(alloy) 49.0108 PTFE 1012 to1016
steel(varies) 10to100108 quartz 51016
Table3.Resistivityvaluesatroomtemperature.Formetals,resistivityincreasesas
temperatureincreases.Forsemiconductorsandmanyinsulators,theoppositeis
true.

Calculatingresistance
TocalculatetheresistanceRofawire,weneedtoknowthreethings:

itslength thelongerthewire,thegreateritsresistance
itscrosssectionalareaAthegreaterthearea,thelessitsresistance
theresistivityofthematerialthegreatertheresistivity,thegreaterits
resistance.

resistance=resistivitylength/area

Thisequationdefinesresistivity.Wecanrearrangeittogetaformulaforresistivity:

Picture2.3Graphicstoillustratehow resistivity=resistancearea/length
resistancevarieswithl,Aandrho.

Question3 Showanswers

a)Lookattheelectrodeholderinthephotographatthetopofthepage.Use
thetabletocomparetheresistivitiesofcopperandsteelusethistoexplain
whyusingcopperisanenergyefficientchoice.
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b)Awiremadeofacopperalloyis5 minlengthandhasacrosssectional

area1 mm2 .Itsresistanceis0.15 .Calculatetheresistivityofthisalloy.


3 1 mm2=106 m2

Tip

c)Howdoesthiscomparewiththeresistivityofcopper?
3

d)Calculatetheresistanceofacopperwireoflength5 manddiameter2 mm.


5 A= r 2

Tip