High Electrical Conductivity

Definition - What does High Electrical Conductivity mean?

High electrical conductivity refers to the ability of certain materials to conduct a large amount of electrical current. Electrical conductivity is abbreviated by the Greek letters sigma (σ) or kappa (κ). The SI unit of electrical conductivity is Siemens per meter (S/m).

Generally, higher levels of electrical conductivity make the surrounding environment more corrosive, which it why it is helpful to measure a system's electrical conductivity in order to take appropriate action to prevent corrosion.

High electrical conductivity is also known as high specific conductance.

Corrosionpedia explains High Electrical Conductivity

Electrical conductivity is the opposite of electrical resistivity.

Electrical conductivity is often associated with the corrosiveness of certain environments, such as for buried pipelines. Carbon steel pipelines are prone to corrosion due to moisture levels in the soil. The type or reaction of soil corrosion depends on the soil composition and other factors in the environment. The variability involved in these factors account for differences in corrosion attack.

Iron vessels buried in the soil could perforate after several months. As a rule, soils with high electrical conductivity, moisture and acidic content are the most corrosive. Therefore, burying exposed steel is not recommended, especially when it is used for electrical applications.

The appropriate temperature for measuring electrical conductivity is usually around 20°C (68°F). Electrical conductivity is dependent on the temperature and is given by the formula:

s1 = s2 / [1 + a x (T1 – T2)]


s1 is the conductivity of the material at temperature T1

s2 is the conductivity of the material at temperature T2

a is the temperature coefficient

T1 is the temperature at which the electrical conductivity is to be determined

T2 is the temperature at which conductivity is measured or is known

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