Electrical Conductivity of Metals and Alloys at Low Temperatures

  • D. K. C. MacDonald
Part of the Encyclopedia of Physics / Handbuch der Physik book series (HDBPHYS, volume 3 / 14)


“It is perhaps unfortunate that so much attention has been paid to the resistance of metals, since it is probably one of the least characteristic properties of the substance, and depends on the electronic distribution and the elastic constants in a very complicated way.” So said Wilson [1] in the first edition of his classic book “The Theory of Metals”. From some points of view this outlook might still be maintained, but we should not forget that one of the most striking and valuable properties of a metal is its ready conduction of electricity. It is true that a complete fundamental understanding of electrical resistance in metals is still lacking today despite unremitting experimental investigation for at least a century; however, the wealth of useful information on metals gained by studies of electrical conductivity appears unequalled by any other comparable measurement. It is of course the rather subtle dependence of the electron scattering on the characteristic parameters of a metal that renders a full theoretical interpretation so difficult; nonetheless, it appears a fortunate fact that so sensitive and informative a parameter can be so readily measured.


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  1. [1]
    Wilson, A. H.: The Theory of Metals Cambridge University Press, 1st edn 1936; 2nd edn 1953. (Page references are to 2nd edn.)Google Scholar
  2. [2]
    Mott, N. F., and H. Jones: The Theory of the Properties of Metals and Alloys. Oxford: Clarendon Press 1936.Google Scholar
  3. [3]
    Seitz, F.: The Modern Theory of Solids. New York and London: McGraw-Hill Book Co. 1940.zbMATHGoogle Scholar

Some other texts of value and interest in the field are:

  1. Brillouin, L.: Die Quantenstatistik. Berlin: Springer 1931.Google Scholar
  2. [3a]
    Fröhlich, H.: Elektronentheorie der Metalle. Berlin: Springer 1936.CrossRefzbMATHGoogle Scholar
  3. [3b]
    Hume-Rothery, W.: The Metallic State. Oxford University Press 1931.Google Scholar
  4. [3c]
    Justi, E.: Leitfähigkeit und Leitungsmechanismus fester Stoffe. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht 1948.Google Scholar
  5. [3d]
    Slater, J. C.: Quantum Theory of Matter. New York and London: McGraw-Hill Book Co. 1951.zbMATHGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1956

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. K. C. MacDonald

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