Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory Office of Science NEWTON's Homepage NEWTON's Homepage
NEWTON, Ask A Scientist!
NEWTON Home Page NEWTON Teachers Visit Our Archives Ask A Question How To Ask A Question Question of the Week Our Expert Scientists Volunteer at NEWTON! Frequently Asked Questions Referencing NEWTON About NEWTON About Ask A Scientist Education At Argonne Crystalline Metal Versus Metallic Glass and Conduction

Name: Marilyn
Status: student
Grade: 12
Country: USA
Date: Fall 2011


Question:
Which will have a better electrical conductivity, a crystalline metal or a metallic glass.



Replies:
Hi Marilyn,

I was unable to find any direct data on electrical conductivity of amorphous metals, however there is data that appears to suggest the conductivity of amorphous metal is slightly worse than that of the same metal in crystalline form.

It is known that amorphous metals have lower thermal conductivity than their crystalline forms, and in most cases decreased thermal conductivity is accompanied by decreased electrical conductivity.

It is also known that as a metal's crystal structure becomes finer and more disorganized, electrical conductivity decreases somewhat. An example of this is the case of copper. Annealed copper, which has fewer, larger crystals, has slightly better electrical conductivity than work-hardened copper. Work-hardening copper breaks up the large crystals into much smaller, and more disorganized ones, resulting in its electrical conductivity being slightly reduced. Carrying this to it's logical end, an infinitely small and highly disordered crystal structure would appear much like a metallic glass. From this, therefore, one can surmise that a true amorphous metal will indeed have slightly poorer electrical conductivity than normal crystalline metal of the same type.

Regards, Bob Wilson


Click here to return to the Material Science Archives

NEWTON is an electronic community for Science, Math, and Computer Science K-12 Educators, sponsored and operated by Argonne National Laboratory's Educational Programs, Andrew Skipor, Ph.D., Head of Educational Programs.

For assistance with NEWTON contact a System Operator (help@newton.dep.anl.gov), or at Argonne's Educational Programs

NEWTON AND ASK A SCIENTIST
Educational Programs
Building 360
9700 S. Cass Ave.
Argonne, Illinois
60439-4845, USA
Update: June 2012
Weclome To Newton

Argonne National Laboratory