What is electrical resistivity? Electrical resistivity is a measure of a material’s property to oppose the flow of electric current. This is expressed in Ohm-meters (Ω⋅m). The symbol of resistivity is usually the Greek letter ρ (rho). A high resistivity means that a material does not conduct well electric charge. Electrical resistivity is defined as the relation between the electrical field inside a material, and the electric current through it as a consequence: in which ρ is the resistivity of the material (Ωm),E is the magnitude of the electrical field in the material (V/m),J is the magnitude of the electric current density in the material (A/m2) If the electrical field (E) through a material is very large and the flow of current (J) very small, it means that the material has a high resistivity. Electrical conductivity is the inversion of resistivity, and is a measure of how well a material conducts electric current: in which σ is the conductivity of the material expressed in Siemens per meter (S/m). In electrical engineering often κ (kappa) is used instead of σ. Electrical Resistance Electrical resistance is expressed in Ohms, and is not the same as resistivity. While resistivity is a material property, resistance is the property of an object. The electrical resistance of a resistor is determined by the combination of the shape and the resistivity of the material. For example, a wirewound resistor with a long, thick wire has a higher resistance then with a shorter and thinner wire. A wirewound resistor made from a material with high resistivity has a higher resistance value then one with a low resistivity. An analogy with a hydraulic system can be made, where water is pumped through a pipe. The longer and thinner the pipe, the higher the resistance will be. A pipe full [… read more]

Resistance of a resistor The function of a resistor is to oppose the electric current through it. This is called electrical resistance, and is measured in the unit ohm. The resistance can be calculated with Ohms law, when the current is known and the voltage drop is measured:     The resistance of a resistor is dependent on its material and shape. Some materials have a higher resistivity, causing a higher value. The value is often printed on the resistor with a number or in the form of a color code. What is resistance? The concept of current, voltage and resistance can be explained by a hydraulic analogy. A flow of water through a pipe is restricted by a constriction. This causes a pressure drop after the constriction. The flow of water is equivalent to electric current. The pressure drop is equal to the voltage drop. The constriction is equivalent to the resistor, and has a certain resistance. The resistance is proportional to the voltage or pressure drop for a given current. In the hydraulic example, the resistance can be increased by for example reducing the diameter of the constriction. For a resistor or wire, the resistance is in general dependent on the material and the geometrical shape. The influence of the geometrical shape, can easily be explained by using the hydraulic example. A long and narrow tube will have a higher resistance than a short and wide tube. The resistance property of a material is called resistivity. The electrical resistance of a resistor is proportional to the resistivity of the material. For a rectangular cross-section resistor the resistance R is given by: where ρ is the resistivity of the resistor material (W·m), l is the length of the resistor along direction of current flow (m), and A is the [… read more]