The Physics Factbook
Edited by Glenn Elert -- Written by his students
An educational, Fair Use website
|Cutnell, John & Johnson, Kenneth. Physics 3rd Edition. New York: John Wiley & Sons Inc., 1995.||
|2.82 × 10-8 Ω·m|
|Electrical Resistivity. Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia, 8 June 2004.||
|2.82 × 10-8 Ω·m|
|Aluminum, Al. MatWeb: Online Material Property Data Sheet, 8 June 2004.||
|2.7 × 10-8 Ω·m|
|Lide, David R. CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics. Boca Ranton, Fl: CRC Press, 1994.||[see accompanying text file]||see graph below|
|Electrical Resistivity of Materials. Reade Advanced Materials, 8 June 2004.||
|2.65 × 10-8 Ω·m|
|Conductivity and Resistivity Values for Aluminum & Alloys [pdf]. Collaboration for Nondestructive Testing, 8 June 2004.||[really big table]||2.65 ~ 8.21 × 10-8 Ω·m|
It is the annual family camping trip and one of the flashlight batteries has a slight leak. You decide that instead of throwing it out into the woods, you will wrap it up and help prevent a potential fire. You take some aluminum foil and wrap up the battery, thus closing the leak and preserving the magnificence of nature. However, you forgot that aluminum has the fourth lowest resistivity and you created a short circuit. Heat intensifies in the circuit and you throw it at a tree in fear. The heat causes a fire and the nature that you wanted to keep safe is up in flames.
Aluminum has the fourth lowest resistivity (behind silver, copper, and gold). It's obvious why people do not use silver or gold as wiring: the price. Copper is cheaper than aluminum and has a lower resistivity, which explains why it is used most often as wiring. This leaves people asking, why aluminum? It isn't as cheap or effective as copper, so using aluminum wiring would be a waste. The fact of the matter is that aluminum wiring is a waste, but using aluminum cables proves to be a very good idea. Aluminum is lighter than copper. Aluminum has a resistivity varying from 2.65 to 2.82 × 10-8 Ω·m. Combined with it's light weight and alloyed with some other metals to make it stronger, aluminum is ideal for electrical cables. It's nonmagnetic properties allow it to keep working anywhere (even in thunderstorms). It is strong, can easily be transported, and has a low enough resistivity, thus making aluminum the best choice for high power, long distance, electrical cables.
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