What is a conductor and why are they important?

68K Businesses Helped
45% Potential Saving
£60m Yearly Customer Spend
Trustpilot Logo

Rated Excellent on Trustpilot
(Over 1,800 Reviews)

Get immediate pricing

Save up to 45%

    Short on time? Arrange a call backCall me

    Trustpilot Logo

    Rated Excellent on Trustpilot
    (Over 1,800 Reviews)

    It’s likely that you turn on your office computer or boil the kettle without a second thought and expect them to leap into action. But these things rely on electricity to work. For electricity to travel from the socket to the device, it relies on a good conductor to help it along. So what exactly is a conductor and what are some of the best conductors available?

    Why do we need conductors?

    In order for devices and appliances around our home or business to work, we rely heavily on conductive materials to deliver the electrical current to those devices. Without them, we wouldn’t be able to use any electrical devices at all. If improper materials were used, it could take a very long time for a bulb to come on after switching it on, for example. This is why having appropriate conductors is so important.

    Why are metals good conductors?

    In order for a conductor to be classed as a ‘good’ conductor of electricity, the material used must allow electrons to flow easily between the atoms within that material. This flow must be almost completely uninterrupted to make the movement as quick as possible. Metals are the best at this, and this is why they’re used as conductors most often. When something is described as a bad conductor, it impedes the flow of electricity. ‘Bad’ conductors include glass and plastic.

    But not all metals are equal when it comes to conductivity and some materials are better at this job than others.

    Which metal is the best conductor of electricity?

    The best electrical conductors are copper, iron and steel, however silver and aluminium are good conductors too.

    Silver is thought to be the best conductor of electricity, as it has a higher conductivity than copper and aluminium. It has 47 electrons, which means electricity can travel faster through it. However its price doesn’t make it practical for use in electric cables. This is why it’s more likely to be found in light switches, on-off switches and even within the LEDs of your TV to provide excellent quality. It can also be used in very specialised equipment, such as satellites.

    Copper is used most commonly for electrical wiring, despite still being one of the pricier metals, and contains 29 electrons. Aluminium is occasionally used in place of copper because it is cheaper while still being a good conductor. This is particularly the case in large applications when a lot of copper would be required. Aluminium can be used instead, bringing the cost of installation down. However, copper tends to be used more widely than aluminium because the latter can be prone to heating up. When this happens, the surface of the wire can become coated with an oxide film and, over time, this can reduce the efficiency at which the material can conduct electricity.

    It’s also worth keeping in mind that the conductivity of a material is often dependent on the external temperature. At higher temperatures, resistance can increase, making it harder for the electrons to move around. This reduces how conductive a metal is. Most materials are more conductive at lower temperatures.

    There are some surprising materials that can conduct electricity too that aren’t metals. These include concrete and even pure water. For water to act as an insulator, it must consist only of hydrogen and oxygen with no impurities. This means that it must be distilled in a laboratory in order for it to become a conductive material, but it can still be used as one. Despite this, these two materials would never be able to have as high a conductivity as the metals mentioned above.

    Get the best prices and deals on your utilities

    Immediate pricing access to almost all UK suppliers

    Utility Bidder
    Business Gas

    Business Gas

    Immediate pricing access to all major UK gas suppliers. We can save you upto 45% on your business gas prices.

    Business Electricity

    Business Electricity

    We manage 20,000 electric meters for our commercial customers – So you’re in safe hands.

    Business Energy

    Business Energy

    We’ll find the best prices and provide you with a hassle free service for both your business gas and electricity….

    Business Water

    Business Water

    With our help. You’ll get a better quality service, lower water bills and better value for money.

    Compare business electricity rates and business gas prices

    It only takes a couple of minutes to save £100's on your utility bills

    Go Back
    x

    Get your estimated savings in minutes

    We compare live prices from 27+ suppliers

    Get quick prices

    Chat to a utilities expert, call me now

    Arrange a call back

    x
    Untitled-10

    Great, we’ll give you a call shortly

    Please provide your contact details

    We've saved up to 45% off utility bills for over 60,000 businesses across the UK. We often secure better rates without having to switch suppliers too.

      x
      Untitled-10

      Ok, let’s arrange that call for you

      What time shall we call you?

      The time you've selected is in the past. Please pick a time in the future.

      We've saved up to 45% off utility bills for over 60,000 businesses across the UK. We often secure better rates without having to switch suppliers too.

        x

        Now please select a utility

        I want to get prices for...

        Gas
        Electric
        Gas & Electric
        Water
        Go Back
        Next

        Please enter your business gas information

        How much do you spend & how often?

        An estimate is fine if you don't have a bill to hand

        Go Back
        Get Prices

        Let’s save time, can we automatically gather meter information?

        ? What does this mean?
        To get your quotes at lightening speed we need several key pieces of information which can all be found on your electricity bill. But by simply ticking this box, we can search ‘industry held data’ to get your meter number, electricity consumption and current energy supplier. This means that we can get you quick quotes without asking you to dig out all of your paperwork. This is personal data therefore we need you to allow us to access this information.
        Go Back

        Do you know your electric meter number?

        Does your meter number end in any of the following?

        Go Back

        Enter meter number

        I don’t know

        Please enter your business electricity information

        How much do you spend & how often?

        An estimate is fine if you don't have a bill to hand

        Start date for a new contract?

        Get Prices

        Please enter your water information

        How much do you spend & how often?

        An estimate is fine if you don't have a bill to hand

        Go Back
        Get Prices

          Enter your details below to see quotes

          We’ve helped over 68,000 businesses