6 Most Conductive Metals & Coatings

Choosing the right materials for the specific purpose of your products are key to determining what you need. A metal with the right level of conductivity can make or break a product or component’s functional success.

Here is a list of most conductive metals to consider include:

1. SILVER

The single most conductive metal, silver conducts heat and electricity efficiently thanks to its unique crystal structure and single valence electron. Silver offers low contact wear resistance and excellent optical reflectivity, making it ideal for coating contacts, mirrors and conductors in telecom applications. However, silver coatings also tarnish easily, which is why they are used less often than copper and gold coatings.

2. COPPER

Like silver, copper’s single valence electron makes it a highly conductive metal. It also offers good corrosion resistance. Copper coatings find use in semiconductors, printed circuit boards and other applications in which electrical conductivity is important.

3. GOLD

Gold’s high conductivity combined with its corrosion resistance, wear resistance and stable contact resistance make it ideal for coating semiconductors, connectors, printed circuits and etched circuits. If you are willing to accept the higher price, gold will usually offer the greatest benefits for products requiring conductivity.

4. ZINC

Although zinc is significantly less conductive than gold, copper and silver, it can be an affordable alternative to these more expensive metals. Zinc offers good conductivity and great durability.

5. NICKEL

Another conductive metal, nickel is typically applied to the surface of a component to add thickness and increase resistance to wear and corrosion. You might choose nickel coatings for challenging industrial and military applications.

6. PLATINUM

Platinum is a precious metal often used to provide a protective coating for other metals that corrode easily. Platinum’s extremely high melting point also makes it suitable for applications that require high thermal conductivity.

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Ayda Walsh

My passion is sharing my knowledge, skills and experience with those who may benefit from them. My website is always a work in progress...


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