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Gold or Silver?

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Electronman

New Member
HI,

After reading several topics in the filed, yet I do not know which one is the better conductor for the electricity?
 

Mikebits

Well-Known Member
Silver is, but often corrodes, if corrosion is a problem then gold is a good choice, but expensive. So most use a copper of some sort.
 

Electronman

New Member
Thanks,

I have heard that the silver is the first conductor, the copper is the second and gold is the third.
why they do not use copper instead?
 

Electronman

New Member
Best conductors in sequence:
1: Silver,
2: Copper,
3: Gold,
While gold is third why they use it? they can use use copper for ever, why they tend to gold too? Is that due to this fact that maybe copper corrodes too?
 

Mikebits

Well-Known Member
Best conductors in sequence:
1: Silver,
2: Copper,
3: Gold,
While gold is third why they use it? they can use use copper for ever, why they tend to gold too? Is that due to this fact that maybe copper corrodes too?
Yes, copper oxidizes as does silver. Gold does not oxidize as easily as the other two elements.
 

KMoffett

Well-Known Member
Best conductors in sequence:
1: Silver,
2: Copper,
3: Gold,
While gold is third why they use it? they can use use copper for ever, why they tend to gold too? Is that due to this fact that maybe copper corrodes too?
Corrosion resistance in sequence:
1. Gold
2. Silver
3. Copper

Cost in sequence:
1. Gold
2. Silver
3. Copper

Three different factors that must be weighed in setecting the right conductor for a particular application.

ken
 

Mikebits

Well-Known Member
And if you look on a periodic chart of elements, you might notice a trend.
 

crutschow

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
Because of its expense, gold is usually only used as a very thin plating on other conductors, such as copper, to prevent corrosion and provide a low contact resistance. The oxides of copper of and silver are non-conductive.
 

Bob Scott

New Member
As said above, silver is the best conductor and good BNC connectors have a silver coating. Silver does oxidize, however the black silver oxide is also a conductor. Ag2O.

References:
GBPPR Tech Bulletin #3 - Why Silver Plate RF Components?
and
Product Review

That said, I have had more intermittent old BNC connectors made with silver than with stainless steel.
Gold connectors are for suckers who buy low oxygen copper cables. However there is a demand for gold connectors and the smart money will satisfy, and profit from, the demand. .....and they won't call their customers "suckers" in front of their faces. That way, everyone is happy.

Bob
 
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Bob Scott

New Member
I've always heard that gold is a better conductor than silver. Then comes copper.
I guess you learn something new every day, huh? It's easy to find out the truth in Google for technical references or Wikipedia too. You mixed up "conductivity" with "cost of".

Bob
 
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EN0

Member
I guess you learn something new every day, huh? It's easy to find out the truth in Google for technical references or Wikipedia too. You mixed up "conductivity" with "cost of".

Bob
Sure do. I'll have to use those resources more often. ;)
 

audioguru

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
Good quality IC sockets, low level switch contacts and relay contacts are gold plated for excellent reliability. They do not cost more than ordinary silver plated contacts used at higher currents. They are used for switching low level microphones.

My Yamaha stereo has a function switch with silver contacts instead of gold and it is becoming intermittent.
 

smanches

New Member
Although silver oxide is a conductor, it's not a good one. And the fact that having silver and silver oxide touching each other creates a bi-metal connection which will start injecting noise into the system like a thermocouple. This is the main reason gold plating is used as it corrodes VERY slowly.
 

Nigel Goodwin

Super Moderator
Most Helpful Member
This is the main reason gold plating is used as it corrodes VERY slowly.
At school, my Chemistry teacher for the last two years or so was a fairly young woman (can't remember her name?) - but we were doing something in the lab when she noticed her engagement ring had turned bright green, and her boyfriend had claimed it was 24 carat! :p

She wasn't amused!.
 

Dean Huster

Well-Known Member
Trouble is, 24 carat gold is "worthless" for jewelry as it is so soft that rings easily bend out of shape and prongs that are supposed to hold gems in place don't. If she'd known anything about jewelry, the boyfriend's original claim should have been suspect!

Ring alloys are usually 10K for strength. Gold chains are often 18K.
 

Nigel Goodwin

Super Moderator
Most Helpful Member
Trouble is, 24 carat gold is "worthless" for jewelry as it is so soft that rings easily bend out of shape and prongs that are supposed to hold gems in place don't. If she'd known anything about jewelry, the boyfriend's original claim should have been suspect!
Perhaps it wasn't 24 she'd been told (it's MANY years ago), but she was certainly very unhappy at how green her ring turned in a single lesson :D
 

bountyhunter

Well-Known Member
Thanks,

I have heard that the silver is the first conductor, the copper is the second and gold is the third.
why they do not use copper instead?
silver and copper both oxidize badly which degrades the connection. Good connectors use a gold plated copper, cheap ones use tin plated copper which is pretty good for durability (way better than bare copper).
 
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bountyhunter

Well-Known Member
Perhaps it wasn't 24 she'd been told (it's MANY years ago), but she was certainly very unhappy at how green her ring turned in a single lesson :D
I thought better rings were alloys of gold and silver. Anything that turns green has copper in it, which would be cheap alloy.
 
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