The Physics
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Resistivity of Copper

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Bibliographic Entry Result
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Cutnell, John & Johnson, Kenneth. Physics 4th edition. New York: Wiley. 1998: 755. "Table 20.1 Resistivities of Various Metals
Copper 1.72 × 10−8"
17.2 nΩm
Lide, David R. CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics 75th ed. Boca Raton, CRC Press, 1994: 12-41. [see table] see graph below
Yasunari Maekawa, Hiroshi Koshikawa and Masaru Yoshida. Anisotropically conducting films consisting of sub-micron copper wires in the ion track membranes of poly(ethylene terephthalate). Polymer. Volume 45, Issue 7 (1 March 2004): 2291-2295. "resistance (Rt, Omega/cm2) is derived from the following equations (1) Rt = 1/S = rho L/(pi (r/2)2 F) where rho is copper resistivity (1.67 × 10−6 Omega cm), L is wire length (3.6 × 10−3 cm), r is cross-sectional diameter of copper wires …." 16.7 nΩm
Copper [Cu]. allmeasures. 1999-2004.
Electrical Resistivity (rho)
0.0000000168 ohm.m
16.8 nΩm

Copper, from the Latin word cuprum, is an element that we believe has been mined for 5000 years, and is considered the first material that useful articles were made from. Artifacts found from the remains of many ancient civilizations such as Egypt, Asia Minor and China contain copper objects and tools. It is found in minerals such as azurite and malachite.

It is a transition metal on the periodic table (atomic number 29) with a reddish- brown color, that is malleable and ductile. It resists corrosion and is a good conductor of heat and has a high conductivity when it comes to electricity. This is why the main uses of copper are electrical. Because of its ductility, it can be used to make wires of varying diameters, and it is very strong. Copper can also maintain solidity at 1083C and boils at 2567C. Like most metals, as the temperature goes up, so does the resistivity.

Because of these factors, copper is widely used for electrical purposes such as household electrical wires, electrical machinery and generators and is able to withstand the elements to be used in outdoor power lines. Wires and electrical uses count for ¾ of all copper use in the US It has the second lowest resistivity, behind silver, which is much more expensive making copper the best choice.

Bridget Ritter -- 2004