Do valence electrons determine electrical conductivity?

In summary, the research on whether valence electrons affect electrical conductivity is inconclusive with some sources stating that a lower amount of valence electrons leads to higher conductivity and others saying the opposite. Factors such as energy needed to move valence electrons and crystal structure also play a role, with FCC structures being better conductors. The best conductors have 1 valence electron, which has a smaller ionisation energy and can transfer energy more effectively. However, semiconductor metals with a higher number of valence electrons can also conduct electricity but are less efficient. When heated or doped with other elements, semiconductors can become highly efficient conductors.
  • #1
milkism
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TL;DR Summary
Does lower valence electrons lead to higher electrical conductivity?
I have trouble researching whether valence-electrons take part in electrical conductivity. Some sources say that a lower amount of valence electrons lead to an higher electrical conductivity, whilst others say the opposite. And each have their different reasons, for example, lower valence electrons lead to higher electrical conductivity, because less energy is needed to move the valence electrons.

I personally think in generally how less the amount of valence electrons how greater the electrical conductivity, because the best conductors have 1 valence electron. Because it has smaller ionisation energy, which gives up electrons easier. But it's a combination of different factors like the crystal structures, with FCC structures being better in electrical conductivity.
Beryllium has two valence electrons, but it's not a better conductor than aluminium, which has three, because the crystal structure of beryllium is HCP, where aluminium's FCC. So the combination of valence-electrons and crystal structure makes aluminium a better conductor.

I would like to know if there's actually a relation between valence-electrons and electrical conductivity, and what the correct relation is.
 
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  • #2
milkism said:
TL;DR Summary: Does lower valence electrons lead to higher electrical conductivity?

I have trouble researching whether valence-electrons take part in electrical conductivity. Some sources say that a lower amount of valence electrons lead to an higher electrical conductivity, whilst others say the opposite. And each have their different reasons, for example, lower valence electrons lead to higher electrical conductivity, because less energy is needed to move the valence electrons.

I personally think in generally how less the amount of valence electrons how greater the electrical conductivity, because the best conductors have 1 valence electron. Because it has smaller ionisation energy, which gives up electrons easier. But it's a combination of different factors like the crystal structures, with FCC structures being better in electrical conductivity.
Beryllium has two valence electrons, but it's not a better conductor than aluminium, which has three, because the crystal structure of beryllium is HCP, where aluminium's FCC. So the combination of valence-electrons and crystal structure makes aluminium a better conductor.

I would like to know if there's actually a relation between valence-electrons and electrical conductivity, and what the correct relation is.

From https://www.thoughtco.com/electrical-conductivity-in-metals-2340117

""Transfer of Energy​

The transfer of energy is strongest when there is little resistance. On a billiard table, this occurs when a ball strikes against another single ball, passing most of its energy onto the next ball. If a single ball strikes multiple other balls, each of those will carry only a fraction of the energy.By the same token, the most effective conductors of electricity are metals that have a single valence electron that is free to move and causes a strong repelling reaction in other electrons. This is the case in the most conductive metals, such as silver, gold, and copper. Each has a single valence electron that moves with little resistance and causes a strong repelling reaction.Semiconductor metals (or metalloids) have a higher number of valence electrons (usually four or more). So, although they can conduct electricity, they are inefficient at the task. However, when heated or doped with other elements, semiconductors like silicon and germanium can become extremely efficient conductors of electricity.""

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Related to Do valence electrons determine electrical conductivity?

Do valence electrons determine electrical conductivity?

Yes, valence electrons play a crucial role in determining electrical conductivity. Materials with free or loosely bound valence electrons, such as metals, are good conductors of electricity because these electrons can move freely through the material.

Why are metals good conductors of electricity?

Metals are good conductors of electricity because they have a high density of free valence electrons. These electrons form a "sea of electrons" that can move easily throughout the metal, allowing electrical current to flow with minimal resistance.

How do valence electrons affect the conductivity of insulators?

In insulators, valence electrons are tightly bound to their respective atoms and are not free to move. This lack of free electrons prevents the flow of electrical current, making insulators poor conductors of electricity.

Can semiconductors conduct electricity, and how do valence electrons play a role?

Semiconductors can conduct electricity, but not as well as metals. Their conductivity depends on the number of valence electrons and the presence of impurities. In semiconductors, valence electrons can be excited to higher energy levels, allowing limited electrical conductivity which can be enhanced by doping with other elements.

What happens to electrical conductivity when valence electrons are shared or transferred?

When valence electrons are shared (as in covalent bonding) or transferred (as in ionic bonding), the electrical conductivity of the material can change significantly. In covalent bonds, shared electrons can create pathways for limited conductivity, while in ionic compounds, the transfer of electrons can lead to the formation of charged ions that may conduct electricity when dissolved in water or melted.

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