Factors Effecting the Resistivity of Electrical Materials

Factors effecting the resistivity of electrical materials are listed below –

  1. Temperature.
  2. Alloying.
  3. Mechanical stressing.
  4. Age Hardening.
  5. Cold Working.

The resistivity of materials changes with temperature. Resistivity of most of the metals increase with temperature. The change in the resistivity of material with change in temperature is given by formula given below-

ρt1 is the resistivity of material at temperature of t1o C
ρt2 is the resistivity of material at temperature of t2oC
α1 is temperature coefficient of resistance of material at temperature of t1o C.
If the value of α1 is positive, the resistivity of material is increase.

The resistivity of metals increase with increase of temperature. Means the metals are having positive temperature coefficient of resistance. Several metals exhibit the zero resistivity at temperature near to absolute zero. This phenomenon is “called the superconductivity”. The resistivity of semiconductors and insulators decrease with increase in temperature. Means the semiconductors and insulators are having negative temperature coefficient of resistance.

Alloying is a solid solution of two or more metals. Alloying of metals is used to achieve some mechanical and electrical properties. The atomic structure of a solid solution is irregular as compared to pure metals. Due to which the electrical resistivity of the solid solution increases more rapidly with increase of alloy content. A small content of impurity may increase the resistivity metal considerably. Even the impurity of low resistivity increases the resistivity of base metal considerably. For example the impurity of silver (having lowest resistivity among all metals) in copper increase the resistivity of copper.

Mechanical Stressing
Mechanical stressing of the crystal structure of material develops the localized strains in the material crystal structure. These localized stains disturb the movement of free electrons through the material. Which results in an increase in resistivity of the material. Subsequently, annealing, of metal reduces the resistivity of metal. Annealing of metal, relieve the mechanical stressing of material due to which the localized stains got removed from the crystal structure of the metal. Due to which the resistivity of metal decrease. For example, the resistivity of hard drawn copper is more as compared to annealed copper.

Age Hardening
Age hardening is a heat treatment process used to increase the yield strength and to develop the ability in alloys to resist the permanent deformation by external forces. Age hardening is also called “Precipitation Hardening”. This process increases the strength of alloys by creating solid impurities or precipitate. These created solid impurities or precipitate, disturb the crystal structure of metal which interrupts the flow of free electrons through metal/Due to which the resistivity of metal increases.

Cold Working
Cold working is a manufacturing process used to increase the strength of metals. Cold working is also known as “Work hardening” or “Strain hardening”. Cold working is used to increase the mechanical strength of the metal. Cold working disturbs the crystal structure of metals which interfere with the movement of electrons in metal, due to which the resistivity of metal increases.

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