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Electrical Conductivity

History, Metals, Semiconductors, Non-ohmic ConductorsMaterials

Conductivity is the term used to describe the ability of a material medium to permit the passage of particles or energy. Electrical conductivity refers to the movement of charged particles through matter. Thermal conductivity refers to the transmission of heat energy through matter. Together, these are the most significant examples of a broader classification of phenomena known as transport processes. In metals, electrical conductivity and thermal conductivity are related since both involve aspects of electron motion.


Electrical conduction can take place in a variety of substances. The most familiar conducting substances are metals, in which the outermost electrons of the atoms can move easily in the interatomic spaces. Other conducting materials include semiconductors, electrolytes, and ionized gases, which are discussed later in this article.


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