As you start or progress in the hobby of metal detecting, you’ll come across many terms and among them, conductivity.
Conductivity is a physical property of materials that describes their ability to conduct electrical current. It is a measure of how easily electric charges, typically electrons, can flow through a substance. Materials with high conductivity allow electric charges to move easily, while those with low conductivity impede the flow of electric charges.
Here is a list of common metals in order from high to low electrical conductivity:
Brass (a copper-zinc alloy)
Bronze (a copper-tin alloy)
This is a general ranking, and the electrical conductivity of materials can vary slightly depending on factors like purity and temperature. However, this order represents the typical trend in electrical conductivity for these metals.
So what does that have to do with metal detecting?
When you’re researching a metal detector, you’ll often see the frequencies listed like 1.5 kHz – 100 kHz. A higher frequency is ideal for detecting low-conductivity and small metals, while a lower frequency is effective for high-conductivity metals like silver.
Some metal detectors are equipped with discrimination features that can help distinguish between different types of metals based on their conductivity. This allows you to have some idea of what type of metal might be buried below based on the signal that returns!