Why is copper a good conductor?

+21 votes
asked Jun 17, 2019 in Science by Sassia (480 points)
edited Jul 20, 2019
I am so confused. I am trying to write a paper on conductors and one of the conductors I have to write about is copper. I cannot find anything (in layman’s terms) that tells me what I need to know. Why is copper a good conductor?

2 Answers

+14 votes
answered Jul 17, 2019 by Am (560 points)
edited Aug 6, 2019
First, and foremost, copper is a good conductor because it is the least expensive of all conductors. What actually makes it a good conductor, however, is how some of its electrons are easily detached. When the outer electrons detach, it allows for a chain reaction of electrons.

The chain reaction is created by one electron moving through a circuit, which in turn makes each electron, in the circuit detach (i.e. chain reaction). As each electron is detached, electricity is allowed to function. Since copper’s electrons detach easier than most other conductors, electricity easily functions through a copper circuit. This is what really makes copper such a good conductor.

As I said, copper is a better conductor than most, however, silver is a better conductor. Copper is still chosen over silver because of copper being much more inexpensive than silver. Some devices require the better conductor but copper is, by far, the highest chosen conductor.

Copper is an extremely better conductor than aluminum but aluminum is usually cheaper than copper and is therefore, used when expense is the most important component.

Hope that is layman’s terms enough for you! :)
+11 votes
answered Jul 31, 2019 by latoya (1,340 points)
edited Aug 1, 2019 by Morgenstern

Why is copper a good conductor? To answer this question, you should learn something about atoms and electrons.

As with any other creation found on Earth, copper is made up of atoms. In every atom, the outer part of the atom contain free-flowing electrons. When these free-flowing electrons come in contact with other atoms, these atoms join in the “free flow” of the electrons. As all of these atoms/electrons flow together, and bring even more atoms to the flow. With copper, these electrons detach so easily that the “flow” is created, and moves very quickly and easily.

Electrons are a negative force as opposed to protons which are a positive force. IF you were to place terminals at the end of a wire of copper that were positive and negative, the electrons would pull towards the positive force because negative and positive energies are drawn to each other through an external electric force.

Copper allows for electrons to flow smoothly and easily. This is what makes copper such a good conductor. I am by no means a scientist so you may want to check out the following video that may help explain better what I just tried to explain.

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