Nichrome wire is often used as resistance wire, because it's got a high melting point (around $1400^\circ C$) and resists oxidation well.

If you pass a current through a Copper wire, it's got a very low resistance and doesn't really heat up unless you pass a very high current, and obviously an insulator which would have a ridiculously high resistance wouldn't heat up at all, since very little current would be flowing through.

Does Nichrome wire or other resistance wires/alloys fall in a sort of sweet-spot, where its resistance is neither too high or too low which gives it this property? Or is there something else to it I'm missing?


Nichrome is used to connect the two terminals of the battery or any source that is connected to the circuit. It is not used for making filaments. Therefore, it strong text offers low resistance to the flow of the electric current.

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  • $\begingroup$ You say all this, but I personally have designed a heating filament for a satellite and I specifically chose to use Nichrome because of it's high resistance and melting point. That kind of contradicts your "It is not used for making filaments" statement. Yes it is $\endgroup$ – Jim Mar 9 '15 at 16:10

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