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Difference between resistance and resistivity

One must know the differences between resistance and resistivity to understand physics. And not only resistance and resistivity, everyone must know the basic concepts of physics to apply them in everyday life. For example, resistance and resistivity are also essential to understanding the flow of electrons in electric current. In contrast, resistance opposes the flow of electrons, which is vital to maintain equilibrium in electronic appliances. Resistivity is a property that informs about the resistance capacity of a material or object. Thus, understanding resistance and resistivity are equally important as understanding other physical concepts.

Resistance

Resistance is the property by which a conductor opposes the flow of electrons, precisely electric current. It is the ratio of voltage to the electric current applied on an electronic device. Resistance is a physical property of the material, and hence, it depends upon the material type. It also depends upon the length and cross-sectional area of the material to which the current is applied. For a material, resistance is proportional to the length and inversely proportional to its cross-sectional area.

Resistivity

Resistivity is the resisting property of the material when the current is applied through it. The SI unit of resistivity is ohms-meter. Resistivity is defined as the resistance per unit length for a unit cross-section of material. Resistivity is directly proportional to temperature. The more the temperature, the more resistivity will be. The relation between the resistivity of conductors and insulators can be given as-
The resistivity of conductors < resistivity of alloys < resistivity of insulators

Difference between resistance and resistivity

S. No

Property

Resistance

Resistivity

1

Definition

Resistance is the physical property of a substance because of which it opposes the flow of current i.e. electrons.

Resistivity is the physical property of a particular substance which has dimensions.

2

Proportionality

Resistance is directly proportional to the length and temperature while it is inversely proportional to the cross-sectional area of the material.

Resistivity is only proportional to the nature and temperature of the material.

3

Symbol

R

ρ

4

Formula

R = V/I or,

R = ρ(L/A)V = Voltage, I = Current, ρ = Resistivity

ρ = (R×A)/L

R = Resistance, L= Length, A = Cross-sectional area

5

SI Units

The SI unit of resistance is Ohms.

The SI unit of resistivity is Ohms-meter.

6

Applications

The property of resistance is used in several places like heaters, fuses, sensors, etc.

Electrical resistivity measurement is used as a quality control test for calcareous soil.

 

More about Resistance

Whenever electric current is passed through a wire or circuit, electrons will experience a resistive force while traveling. Thus, the hindrance experienced to the flow of charge is known as resistance. Electrons do not travel in a straight path. Instead, they move in a random zig-zag pattern with high velocity. Therefore, the resistance force is also high with more number of electrons and their speed. The zig-zag path is formed due to the collision of electrons with the conducting material. Resistance slows the movement of electrons. Hence, reducing the charge.

More about Resistivity

Resistivity is an indicative property of a material’s ability to allow the flow of electrons. Resistivity is a measurement of temperature; with an increase in temperature, the resistivity of a material increases. Different materials will have different resistivity. Some of them have higher resistivity, while some have low resistivity. Materials with low resistivity are good conductors of electricity. They have a low potential to hinder the flow of charge. Therefore, the conducting property of a material is inversely proportional to the resistivity of the material. Materials with high resistivity certainly tend to be poor conductors. Also, some materials with really high resistivity are not considered to be conductors at all.

FAQs about resistance and resistivity

Question 1: What is meant by resistance?

Answer 1: It is the ratio of voltage to the electric current applied on an electronic device. Resistance is a physical property of the material, and hence, it depends upon the material type. Whenever electric current is passed through a wire or circuit, electrons will experience a resistive force while traveling. Thus, the hindrance experienced to the flow of charge is known as resistance. Electrons do not travel in a straight path. Instead, they move in a random zig-zag pattern with high velocity.

Question 2: Explain the concept of resistivity?

Answer 2: Resistivity is an indicative property of a material’s ability to allow the flow of electrons. Resistivity is a measurement of temperature; with an increase in temperature, the resistivity of a material increases. Therefore, the conducting property of a material is inversely proportional to the resistivity of the material.

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