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Answer to Question #10241 in Inorganic Chemistry for Leah

Question #10241
Conductivity in a metal results from the metal atoms having
Expert's answer
Conductivity in a metal results from the metals having highly mobile electrons in the valence shell.

A metal consists of a lattice of atoms, each with a shell of electrons. This is also known as a positive ionic lattice. The outer electrons are free to
dissociate from their parent atoms and travel through the lattice, creating a
'sea' of electrons, making the metal a conductor. When an electrical potential
difference (a voltage) is applied across the metal, the electrons drift from one
end of the conductor to the other under the influence of the electric
field.
Near room temperatures, the thermal motion of ions is the primary source of scattering of electrons (due to destructive interference of free
electron waves on non-correlating potentials of ions), and is thus the prime
cause of metal resistance. Imperfections of lattice also contribute into
resistance, although their contribution in pure metals is negligible.
The larger the cross-sectional area of the conductor, the more electrons are
available to carry the current, so the lower the resistance. The longer the
conductor, the more scattering events occur in each electron's path through the
material, so the higher the resistance. Different materials also affect the
resistance.

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