Have you ever heard of "quartz powered" watches? Or the process of electroforming in jewelry? The same elements that are responsible for the conduction of electricity and energy are also the same building blocks for many of the minerals and rocks that we are so fond of.
Certain minerals that have an ability to combine these same elements to create an electrical current or thermal reaction are considered electrical or energy conductors. Minerals that only pass electricity through specific conditions are called semi-conductors. Minerals that conduct electricity under mechanical heat and pressure are considered piezoelectric. Their internal chemical composition dictates whether or not electricity or energy can be transferred throughout them.
The biggest factors that dictate whether a mineral is a conductor or not, include (but are not limited to)
- Iron or iron related impurities
- Hydrogen or hydrogen related impurities
- Grain boundaries
- Water content
The most common electricity conductors are:
The most common semi-conductors are:
- The element Germanium
- The element Silicon
The most common piezoelectric conductors include:
- Sucrose (table sugar)
Because most metals have a free flowing "sea" of electrons that have a non-directional bond, the electron mobility is higher thus allowing an easy transfer of voltage. In order for many non metal semi-conductors to transfer electricity, electron holes within the crystal lattice must be present in order to allow ions to transfer through.
We hope this brief yet informative blog post helped you garnish a new appreciation and understanding of the complexity of minerals, and their never-ending uses! #doitfortheGRAM