Surprisingly, it is not copper (which has eight free electrons for the perfect flow of current) that is the most widely used conductor, but aluminum. There are a few other properties that make aluminum a good choice.
1. Low Resistance
Resistance of a metal refers to its property of acting opposite to its conductance. Aluminum has a low resistance making it a very good conductor. Its electrical resistance can be measured as 2.82 X 10-8 Ω-m, which is very low for a metal.
Aluminum has a low density and melting point, meaning you can mold it in almost any shape. You can use different aluminum alloys in different applications according to the need. Because of this property, aluminum can be molded in any form to form a good wire that would conduct electricity.
3. Strength at low temperature
The malleable and ductile nature of aluminum allows it to bend, and its strength helps it to maintain its shape without breaking. Unlike steel and other metals, aluminum can maintain its structure and not break at low temperatures. Steel goes brittle when exposed to a lower temperature. This property is important as a conductor for any metal.
4. Corrosion Resistant
It is hard for metals to resist corrosion when exposed to air and water, but aluminum is extremely corrosion-resistant. It produces a thin oxide coating which becomes its protective layer to save it from corrosion. This property is important for a good conductor. We cannot allow our wires to go rusty. Steel and iron are not used as conductors because they are highly prone to corrosion.
If a conductor is magnetic, the wires will start sticking to each other, which is not a good scenario. aluminum is non-magnetic, making it a good conductor. This property makes it ideal for electrical shielings such as computer disks, dish antennas, or busbars.
6. Shock-Absorbent and Non-Sparking
Aluminum is extremely shock absorbing, making it another reason to use it abundantly. It is also non-sparking. It produces no spark when it comes in contact with itself or any ferrous object. This property is extremely useful as a conductor. When electricity passes through it, the metal mustn’t spark; otherwise, a short circuit will be dangerous. It is also shock-absorbant and used in heavy appliances without the fear of breaking or getting sparked.