Issue 1 V1.08
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Metals/Alloys - Thermal and Electrical Properties

More Properties

Electrical and Thermal Properties of Steels

Because different materials can perform or behave dissimilarly to one another depending on not only their surroundings but also their purpose, it is important to understand how they will act and to what magnitude. Typical values for thermal conductivity, thermal expansion and electrical resistance of some commonly encountered steels has been provided in the table below.

Thermal Conductivity

Thermal conductivity is a materials potential to transfer heat under steady state conditions. Materials with a high thermal conductivity or ones where heat will more readily transfer at a higher rate are widely used in heat sink applications while materials who have a low thermal conductivity or transfer heat poorly are more suited towards thermal insulating applications. The reciprocal of thermal conductivity is thermal resistivity.

Electrical Resistivity

A materials ability to oppose the flow of electric current from a structural engineering perspective will be primarily be of importance for safety reasons but can also be used as apart of the assessment for cathodic protection, insulation, earthing and potential for temperature increases amongst others areas.

Material Thermal Conductivity Electrical Resistivity
Imperial (Btu/(hr-ft-F°) Metric (WM/K°) Imperial (Ω.ft) Metric (Ω.m)
min. max. min. max. min. max. min. max.