How would we compare the electrical conductivity between copper and calcium? I understand that electrical conductivity of a metal is dependent on the number of delocalized electrons for that metal. However, in the case of copper which can lose variable number of electrons, how do we compare electrical conductivity with that of Calcium?

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    $\begingroup$ You don't. Conductivity can't be deduced that easily. $\endgroup$ Commented Oct 2, 2021 at 10:01
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    $\begingroup$ Copper has one conduction electron per atom, period. $\endgroup$
    – Jon Custer
    Commented Oct 2, 2021 at 11:55
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    $\begingroup$ There is no simple explanation. Conductivity depends on the detailed crystal structure of the metal and how electrons are scattered when travelling though it. This is far from simple. $\endgroup$
    – matt_black
    Commented Oct 3, 2021 at 0:32

1 Answer 1


Comparing the conductivities must start with some data - then you start dealing with explanations. Otherwise, you are making predictions - no, not predictions - speculations. Get some data first, then compare, speculate, hypothesize, predict, check predictions, repeat.

As far as electrical conductivities, tables exist ( https://www.angstromsciences.com/elements-electrical-conductivity), and the screen shot below shows conductivities from nickel and zinc (bracketting copper) all the way thru more conductive elements, including calcium, and to silver, the most conductive element.

The sea of electrons is not equally smooth for all elements, nor equally deep. Semiconductors have interesting conductivity, and theories exist to explain such behavior (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electrical_resistivity_and_conductivity), but it seems that comparing conductivities of very conductive elements is more difficult.

It is interesting that the conductivity of copper does not vary much whether it is fully annealed (very soft) or cold drawn (fully hard)(https://www.thoughtco.com/table-of-electrical-resistivity-conductivity-608499). Alloying copper has a much greater effect on conductivity.

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