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Conductivity of Some Common Materials

The values below are conductivity

for a few materials that are commonly encountered in electrical engineering applications, and for which conductivity emerges as a consideration.

Note that materials in some applications are described instead in terms of resistivity, which is simply the reciprocal of conductivity.

Conductivity may vary significantly as a function of frequency. The values below are representative of frequencies from a few kHz to a few GHz. Conductivity also varies as a function of temperature. In applications where precise values are required, primary references accounting for frequency and temperature should be consulted. The values presented here are gathered from a variety of references, including those indicated in “Additional References” at the end of this section.

Free Space (vacuum):





Water exhibits

ranging from about

S/m for highly distilled water (thus, a very poor conductor) to about 5 S/m for seawater (thus, a relatively good conductor), varying also with temperature and pressure. Tap water is typically in the range 5–50 mS/m, depending on the level of impurities present.

Soil typically exhibits

in the range

S/m for dry soil to about

S/m for wet soil, varying also due to chemical composition.

Non-conductors. Most other materials that are not well-described as conductors or semiconductors and are dry exhibit

S/m. Most materials that are considered to be insulators, including air and common dielectrics, exhibit

S/m, often by several orders of magnitude.


Ellingson, Steven W. (2018) Electromagnetics, Vol. 1. Blacksburg, VA: VT Publishing. https://doi.org/10.21061/electromagnetics-vol-1 CC BY-SA 4.0

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