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**Resistivity** is a property of materials that determines how well that material will conduct electricity. This property is closely related to resistance which is the property of a particular electrical component. Resistivity is also closely related to electrical conductivity:^{[1]}

[math]\rho = \frac{1}{\sigma}[/math]

Where [math]\rho[/math] is the resistivity (in Ohm/m) and [math]{\sigma}[/math] is the conductivity (in m/Ohm)). To determine the resistance of a wire (which could be made of almost anything: copper, aluminum, this equation even works for wood!)

[math]R = \rho \frac{A}{l}= \frac{A}{\sigma l}[/math]

where [math]A[/math] is the area (in m^{2}) and [math]l[/math] is the length (in m).

For more detailed information on resistivity please see hyperphysics. Hyperphysics also has a table of resistivities for different materials. Resistivity also depends on temperature, which is also explained on hyperphysics.

The University of Colorado has graciously allowed us to use the following Phet simulation. Explore the simulation to see how resistance changes depending on geometry and resistivity:

- ↑ R. D. Knight, "Conductivity and resistivity" in
*Physics for Scientists and Engineers: A Strategic Approach,*2nd ed. San Francisco, U.S.A.: Pearson Addison-Wesley, 2008, pp. 954-956

Bethel Afework, Allison Campbell, Kailyn Stenhouse, Jason Donev

Last updated: May 18, 2018

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