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I found that people often measure "electrical conductivity", but some may say "electronic conductivity". Can anyone explain the terms "electrical" and "electronic" in the context of conductivity?

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    $\begingroup$ In my understanding of English electrical should refer to the total conductivity you measure, electronic refers to the contribution to the conductivity due to the electrons - not all electrical conductivity is electronic e.g. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fast_ion_conductor . However I suspect in reality the two terms are confused; some examples of them in use would help the question. No reference to back up this assertion, so a comment rather than an answer. $\endgroup$
    – Ian Bush
    Commented Sep 15, 2022 at 7:48
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    $\begingroup$ I think this is a semantic, english language issue and maybe this is not the right message board for this. However, electric refers to the technical quantity current and electronic, if used ini contrast, refers to the fermionic particle. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 15, 2022 at 9:24
  • $\begingroup$ @SeverusSnape can you think of a different board in which the user would get 2 helpful comments already within 90 minutes? Also it sounds like your comment would be an excellent answer! $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 15, 2022 at 10:02
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    $\begingroup$ Related, though not in the specific context of conductivity: english.stackexchange.com/q/5699/21450, grammar.collinsdictionary.com/english-usage/…. Can you please give us examples of the places where these terms were used in which it's important for you to be able to distinguish the terms for your understanding or research project? $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 15, 2022 at 12:41
  • $\begingroup$ @NikeDattani, thanks. I could take some papers as examples [electrical][doi.org/10.1016/j.jpowsour.2009.03.061] and [electronic][pubs.acs.org/doi/full/10.1021/acs.chemmater.1c02345]. As far as I understand from the second paper, "electronic" conductivity is the sum conductivity of electrons and holes. $\endgroup$
    – Binh Thien
    Commented Sep 15, 2022 at 14:59

3 Answers 3

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Electric conductivity can be created by particles other than electrons (like ions in solution), or by electrons moving in some more sophisticated way than straightforward (hole conductivity in semiconductors). Electronic conductivity is a conductivity created by electrons and can be compared with other kinds of conductivity.

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  • $\begingroup$ "Electronic" can also refer to conductivity of other quantities, e.g. the electronic thermal conductivity (the heat carried by electrons). $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 23, 2022 at 0:31
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The adjective electric refers to the current (a technical quantity), while electronic, especially if used in contrast, refers to the fermionic particle.

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Electrical or electronic conductivity could refer to the device that is conducting.

  • Electrical devices have electrical conductivity.
  • Electronic devices have electronic conductivity.

A good generic definition for electrical vs electronic devices cannot be given.

  • Traditionally, electrical devices are for handling electric power whereas electronic devices are for handling information/data. This definition is not holding up for, for example PV convertors or SMPS's.

  • Electrical devices are mostly mechanical. For example: wire, switches, and relays. Electronic devices are made of semiconductors.

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  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to the site! There was nothing technically wrong with your second answer, but since they were written at roughly the same time, they should just be combined into a single answer. $\endgroup$
    – Tyberius
    Commented Sep 16, 2022 at 14:20

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