Wednesday, 8 January 2020

Electric Conducting Materials: Introduction, Classification, and their Properties

Electric Conducting Materials

  • When an electric potential difference is applied across free electrons then the materials which conduct electricity due to that free electrons are known as conducting materials
  • Conducting materials are good conductors of electricity and heat. Examples of conducting material are  Gold, silver, copper, aluminium etc.

Classification of Electrical Conducting Materials                                                                 

Electrical conducting material are the basic requirement for electrical engineering products. The electrical conducting material can be classified as below-

Based on Resistivity or Conductivity

Electric Conducting Material
Electric Conducting Material

Based on Area of Application

Electric Conducting material based on Applications
Electric Conducting material based on Applications

  •  For coils of electrical machines materials used as conductor
  • For heating elements
  • For lamp filaments
  • Material used for transmission line
  • Bimetals
  • Electrical Contact Materials
  • Electrical Carbon Materials
  • Material for Brushes used in Electrical Machine
  • Used for fuses

Materials Used as Conductor for Coils of Electrical Machines

  • Materials having low resistivity or high conductivity such as copper, silver and aluminum can be used for making coils for electrical machines. 
  • Looking to optimum conductivity, mechanical strength and cost, copper is much suitable for making coils for electrical machines.

Materials for Heating Elements

  • Materials having high resistivity or low conductivity such as Nichrome, Kanthal, Cupronickel and Platinum etc. are used for making heating elements. 
  • Materials used for heating elements must possess following properties-
  1. High melting point 
  2. Free from oxidation in operating atmosphere 
  3. High tensile strength 
  4. Sufficient ductility to draw the metal or alloy in the form of wire

Materials for Lamp Filament

  • Materials having high resistivity or low conductivity such as Carbon, Tantalum and Tungsten etc. are used for making incandescent lamp filament. 
  • Materials used for making incandescent lamp filament must possess following properties-
  1. High melting point
  2. Low vapour pressure
  3. Free from oxidation in inert gas (argon, nitrogen etc.) medium at operating temperature
  4. High resistivity
  5. Low thermal coefficient of expansion
  6. Low temperature coefficient of resistance
  7. Should have high young modulus and tensile strength 
  8. Sufficient ductility so that can be drawn in the form of very thin wire
  9. Ability to be converted in the shape of filament
  10. High fatigue resistance against thermally induced fluctuating stresses
  11. Cost should minimum

Material Used for Transmission Line

  • Materials used for making conductor for transmission line must possess following properties
  1. High conductivity
  2. High tensile strength
  3. Light weight
  4. High resistance to corrosion
  5. High thermal stability
  6. Low coefficient of thermal expansion
  7. Low cost

Materials use for transmission lines 

  • Copper
  • Aluminum
  • Cadmium-Copper alloys
  • Phosphor bronze
  • Galvanized steel
  • Steel core copper
  • Steel core aluminum


  • Many combinations of metals with different “Coefficient of linear thermal expansion” can be used to form the bimetals. 
  • Some of the commonly used combinations for making bimetallic strips are listed below- 

  1. Iron, nickel, constantan (high “Coefficient of linear thermal expansion”)
  2. Alloy of iron and nickel (low “Coefficient of linear thermal expansion”)

Electrical Contact Materials

  • The successful operation of electrical contacts is function of various factors. 
  • While selecting a suitable material for electrical contact, we have to consider the factors. 
  • Some of most important factors of these are listed below –

  1. Contact resistance
  2. Contact force
  3. Voltage and current

Electrical Carbon Materials

  • Carbon in widely used in electrical engineering. Electrical carbon materials are manufactured from graphite and other forms of carbon. 
  • Carbon is having following applications in electrical Engineering-

  1. For making filament of incandescent lamp
  2. For making electrical contacts
  3. For making resistors
  4. For making brushes for electrical machines such as DC machines, alternators.
  5. For making battery cell elements
  6. Carbon electrodes for electric furnaces
  7. Arc lighting and welding electrodes
  8. Component for vacuum valves and tubes
  9. For makings parts for telecommunication equipment’s

Material for Brushes Used in Electrical Machine

  • Before selecting the material for brushes, we should keep in our mind following requirements in a brush –
  1. Contact resistance
  2. Thermal stability
  3.  Lubrication properties
  4. Mechanical strength
  5. Low brittleness

Material used for Brushes in electrical machines 

  • Carbon
  • Natural graphite
  • Electro graphite
  • Metal graphite
  • Copper

Materials Used for Fuse Elements

  • Fuse element is primary requirement of a fuse unit. The fuse element should have following properties- 
  • Low resistance - to avoid the undesirable voltage drop across the fuse element, so that it should effects the normal functioning or performance of circuit or device or equipment. 
  • Low melting point - The fuse element must have low melting point. So that it blow out due to heating by excess current during over load or short circuit. 
  • Different types of metals and alloys are used for fuse element. Some of these elements are listed below –
  1. Aluminum
  2. Lead and tin
  3. Copper
  4. Silver
  5. Rose’ Alloys
  6. Wood alloys


  • Resistivity of Electrical Material


Post a comment

Popular Posts