I just read this answer on EE.SE and that triggered a doubt in me.

If I were asked whether there is any relationship between the electrical resistivity and the density of a substance I'd answer negatively, but is it really so?

Is there really no (relevant) relationship between those two bulk properties of a material? Can anyone confirm or disprove this and give some explanation thereof?

  • $\begingroup$ I don't see any reason for relation between resistivity and density to exist. Resistivity is largely dependent on electronic structure (most of the time - there are various types of conductors). This structure depends on density in some way but this is not explicit dependence. You could think of lattice distortion preserving density that could change resistivity by orders of magnitude. Furthermore defects can have significant influence on resistivity, while they will change density very little if at all. $\endgroup$ – Jarosław Komar Jan 15 '15 at 20:26

There is no relationship between the density of a metal and its electrical resistivity.

There is a big database of material properties called MatWeb which is recommend as a legitimate source of data by UCSD's and Stanford's library systems, Rose-Hulman, etc.

I took data from around 60 different metals and graphed them:

resistivity vs density for 60 metals

As you can see there is no empirical relationship. From a theory perspective, density has to do with atomic packing and resistivity has to do with electronic structure.

I will admit, however, that gaseous copper is an extremely poor conductor.


protected by Community Jun 29 '15 at 15:17

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