Physicists have found a metal that conducts electricity but not heat
Date: Saturday, January 28, 2017 @ 14:36:54 GMT
Topic: Science

by FIONA MACDONALD (, 28 JAN 2017/ Defying one of the most fundamental laws of conductors.

Researchers have identified a metal that conducts electricity without conducting heat - an incredibly useful property that defies our current understanding of how conductors work.

The metal contradicts something called the Wiedemann-Franz Law, which basically states that good conductors of electricity will also be proportionally good conductors of heat, which is why things like motors and appliances get so hot when you use them regularly.

But a team in the US has shown that this isn't the case for metallic vanadium dioxide (VO2) - a material that's already well known for its strange ability to switch from a see-through insulator to a conductive metal at the temperature of 67 degrees Celsius (152 degrees Fahrenheit).

"This was a totally unexpected finding," said lead researcher Junqiao Wu, from Berkeley Lab’s Materials Sciences Division.

"It shows a drastic breakdown of a textbook law that has been known to be robust for conventional conductors. This discovery is of fundamental importance for understanding the basic electronic behaviour of novel conductors."...

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The research has been published in Science.

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