Materials that conduct electricity are classified as superconductors, conductors, and semiconductors. A material with no electrical resistance (R) in the presence of an electric current is known as a superconductor. A material where the electrical resistance (R) gets lower as the temperature increases has a positive temperature coefficient.
The notable difference between a superconductor and a conductor is that one is made up of materials with no electrical resistance, and the other has lower resistance as it gets warmer. The most popular conductors are copper, aluminium and silver. Conductors are used in circuits to transfer electrons from one component to another. Let us understand in detail superconductors and conductors.
How Do Superconductors and Conductors Work?
A superconductor is an ideal conductor that can carry an electric current without dissipating any energy as heat. Semiconductors are good conductors but not as efficient as a superconductor. Semiconductors can have a low resistance, but they don’t maintain the current indefinitely. A superconductor is an ideal conductor that can carry an electric current without dissipating any energy as heat.
A superconductor is a material that has no electrical resistance. This means that when an electric current is applied, it will continue to flow without any energy loss. Superconductors are made up of atoms that have no electrons in their outer shells. These electrons are called valence electrons, and these valence electrons are responsible for the electrical resistance in other materials. When these electrons are removed from the atom, the material becomes a perfect conductor of electricity with zero resistance. The different types of superconductors are classified by their ability to carry electric currents. These are classified as Type I and Type II.
Particle accelerators, medical devices, vehicles, computers, electric motors, generators, power transmission, etc., require superconductors. In MRI scanners, superconductors are mostly used to build strong electromagnets. Power transmission over large distances is accomplished using these cables. Superconductors are employed in storage or memory components as well.
The Significance of the Material in a Superconductor
The type of material that is used in a superconductor is crucial for its function. A superconductor is a material that has no resistance to the flow of electrical current. The type of material in the conductor determines how well it can conduct electricity. For example, copper and aluminium are good conductors because they have low resistivity, while air is not because it has high resistivity. The importance of the type of material in a superconductor lies in its ability to transfer heat efficiently. Copper and aluminium are excellent heat conductors, while air conducts heat poorly. The type of material determines how efficiently heat is transferred from a heated object to the surrounding air. A superconductor can be made from any type of metal or electrical conductor. Commonly they are made with copper or aluminium. Superconductors can also be made using ceramic or polymer materials that have low resistivity. Also, when compounds like mercury and lead are cooled to freezing temperatures, they become superconductors.