What exactly influences the availability of electrons

Discussion in 'Physics' started by mhoga27, May 17, 2017.

  1. mhoga27

    Thread Starter New Member

    May 4, 2017
    I am writing a report on the conductivity of copper, aluminium, steel, stainless steel, nichrome and brass. I read information that the larger the atomic radius the more the further away the electrons are from the nucleus and thus they are easily dislodged due to the weak attractive forces. Their example was silver compared to gold (silver has a larger atomic radius and therefore has a higher conductivity). This does not apply when comparing copper to gold; copper has a smaller atomic radius, but is more conductive than gold. !!?!?!??!


    Yes, it is sourced from wikianswers; i cannot find any source to give me a reason as to what exactly makes a material conductive. Please save me!?!?!
  2. BR-549

    Distinguished Member

    Sep 22, 2013
    The conductivity of an element, compound or media is NOT directly related to atomic structure.

    No atom has a free electron. No atom is a conductor. Free charge comes from molecular structures.

    The energy levels or strengths of the molecular bonds(atom to atom).......and the structures or alignments of those bonds........determine the free charge population.

    Conductivity and/or free charge is a molecular and/or media property, not an atomic property.

    It takes a certain energy/power level to dislodge ANY electron from an atom. And with certain atom to atom bonds.....this level is met and can free an electron. Some media bonds have no free charge. Once freed....the electron is under constant acceleration. This acceleration is related to temp. This is why current is related to temp. Current is the proportion of free charge that is moving in the intended direction. A higher voltage will steer more free charge.

    Ohm's law.

    These constant random accelerations causing this proportionality property is why ohm's law works.......no matter the free electron population. i.e.....across a resistor or across a conductor.

    This is only an opinion and how I see it. As for your report......it all depends on who the report is for.

    If it's for academic work.........find the wanted answer. Not my opinion. Good luck.
  3. Papabravo


    Feb 24, 2006
    You are struggling with a naive and simplistic view of atomic structure. It is not atomic radius that is important but the arrangement of the atoms electrons into shells. It is electrons in the outer shells that are easily liberated. You know that according quantum mechanics electrons can actually be anywhere, and any attempt to locate them precisely is doomed to failure.
  4. nsaspook

    AAC Fanatic!

    Aug 27, 2009
    Last edited: May 18, 2017
    killivolt and mhoga27 like this.
  5. BillO

    Distinguished Member

    Nov 24, 2008
    "What exactly influences the availability of electrons"

    Their social life...:p

    Moderators note : no need for shouting using large font
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 2, 2017
  6. BillO

    Distinguished Member

    Nov 24, 2008
    And how is all this explained by the "electrical resonance" theory??
  7. BR-549

    Distinguished Member

    Sep 22, 2013
    "electrical resonance theory" was for a different thread. It's what holds an atom together. One has to break a resonance to get a free electron and have a conductor.
  8. BillO

    Distinguished Member

    Nov 24, 2008
    RE: Moderators note regarding large font.

    Actually, it wasn't shouting. That would be all caps. It was as a result of a cut and paste from the thread title.
  9. Glenn Holland


    Dec 26, 2014
    The availability of electrons depends on the number of electrons in the "Conduction Band" which is outside the valence band.