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When metals, (such as in circuits), are heated, their ability to conduct electric current is hampered. Why is this? Does the transition towards liquid disrupt a metal's ability to conduct, or is something else at play? I know as any material increases in temperature its atoms vibrate more, but I don't know how this affects conductivity. Thanks for your time!

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The hotter a material, the more its atoms or ions jiggle about and the harder it is for electrons to wriggle through, which translates into higher electrical resistance. Broadly speaking, the resistivity of most materials increases linearly with temperature (so if you increase the temperature by 10 degrees, the resistivity increases by a certain amount, and if you increase it by another 10 degrees, the resistivity rises by the same amount again). If you cool a material, you lower its resistivity—and if you cool it to an extremely low temperature, you can sometimes make the resistivity disappear altogether, in a phenomenon known as superconductivity.

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  • $\begingroup$ Superconductivity is an entirely different phenomenon. It is explained by very different models. In fact, many good electrical conductors cannot superconduct (such as Copper). $\endgroup$ – bremsstrahlung Mar 21 '16 at 19:04
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Electrical conductivity is for the most part determined by electron-phonon(quantized lattice vibration) scattering. As temperature increases and the phonon amplitude increases, there are an increased amount of scattering events which result in decreased conductivity.

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