What Metal is a Good Conductor of Heat

by Chin Trento | Dec 12, 2017

In general, metals are shiny, reflecting most of the light that strikes them. They are malleable and ductile (that is, they will bend under pressure and are not brittle). They have a broad range of melting temperatures (e.g., mercury is a liquid at room temperature, gallium will melt in one’s hand, and tungsten has a melting temperature around 3,400 degrees Celsius). The thermal and electrical conductivity of all metals is high compared to nonmetallic substances, such as plastics and ceramics, rocks, and solid salts.

good conductors
The aluminum foil, steel wool, paper clip, copper, charcoal stick, and graphite pencil were good conductors and displayed metallic properties. The glass rod, plastic, rubber, and wood were poor conductors.
Most of the samples with metallic properties contained metallic bonds. The exception was carbon.
Carbon is a non-metal and therefore has covalent bonds. However, in this experiment it exhibited metallic properties. Carbon in the form of graphite is the only non-metallic element that conducts electricity.

conductor metal
As we all know, graphite is composed of sheets of hexagons of carbon atoms joined by covalent bonds. Between each sheet, there are weaker (pi) bonds along which the electrons are free to move. It is the movement of electrons between the layers that explains this unusual property of graphite.
Copper contains metallic bonds and so conducts electricity. Rubber contains covalent bonds and so does not conduct electricity. It protects the user from getting an electric shock.

About the author

Chin Trento

Chin Trento holds a bachelor’s degree in applied chemistry from the University of Illinois. His educational background gives him a broad base from which to approach many topics. He has been working with writing advanced materials for over four years in Stanford Advanced Materials (SAM). His main purpose in writing these articles is to provide a free, yet quality resource for readers. He welcomes feedback on typos, errors, or differences in opinion that readers come across.

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