# Ohmic Conductors vs. Non-Ohmic Conductors — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman — Published on January 22, 2024
Ohmic conductors obey Ohm's Law, showing a linear relationship between voltage and current, whereas non-ohmic conductors do not, exhibiting a nonlinear voltage-current relationship.

## Key Differences

Ohmic conductors, such as copper, have a constant resistance and follow Ohm's Law, meaning their voltage and current are directly proportional. Non-ohmic conductors, like diodes, have varying resistance, and their voltage-current relationship is not linear.
In ohmic conductors, the resistance remains consistent across different voltages. In contrast, non-ohmic conductors display changing resistance with varying voltage levels.
Examples of ohmic conductors include most metals and resistors designed to have a fixed resistance. Non-ohmic conductors are often semiconductor devices like transistors and thyristors, where resistance changes with voltage.
The linear graph of voltage vs. current for ohmic conductors is a straight line, whereas for non-ohmic conductors, the graph is curved, indicating the non-linear relationship.
Ohmic conductors are typically used in situations where a stable and predictable current is required, while non-ohmic conductors are useful in electronic circuits where varying resistance is needed for functions like rectification or amplification.

## Comparison Chart

### Voltage-Current Relationship

Linear (direct proportionality)
Nonlinear

### Resistance Behavior

Constant across different voltages
Varies with voltage

### Examples

Metals like copper, fixed resistors
Semiconductor devices like diodes, transistors

### Graph Shape

Straight line in a voltage-current graph
Curved line in a voltage-current graph

### Typical Use

Stable, predictable current applications
Electronic circuits with varying resistance

## Compare with Definitions

#### Ohmic Conductors

Ohmic conductors exhibit a linear voltage-current relationship.
The graph for the ohmic conductor is a straight line, showing linearity.

#### Non-Ohmic Conductors

Non-ohmic conductors are used in complex electronic applications.
Transistors, as non-ohmic conductors, are crucial in amplification and switching tasks.

#### Ohmic Conductors

Ohmic conductors are typically made of materials like metals.
Silver, an ohmic conductor, is used for its low resistance in electronic components.

#### Non-Ohmic Conductors

Non-ohmic conductors include semiconductor devices.
Diodes, a type of non-ohmic conductor, are essential in rectifying circuits.

#### Ohmic Conductors

Ohmic conductors are used where steady current flow is needed.
Ohmic conductors are ideal for basic electrical circuits requiring a stable current.

#### Non-Ohmic Conductors

Non-ohmic conductors are characterized by their changing resistance.
The non-ohmic conductor's resistance varied, making it useful for controlling current in the circuit.

#### Ohmic Conductors

Ohmic conductors have a constant resistance and follow Ohm's Law.
Copper wires in household circuits are ohmic conductors, offering consistent resistance.

#### Non-Ohmic Conductors

Non-ohmic conductors do not have a constant resistance.
The resistance of the non-ohmic conductor changed as the voltage increased.

#### Ohmic Conductors

Ohmic conductors maintain proportionality between voltage and current.
In the ohmic conductor, doubling the voltage doubled the current.

#### Non-Ohmic Conductors

Non-ohmic conductors show a nonlinear relationship between voltage and current.
In the non-ohmic conductor, the current did not increase proportionally with voltage.

## Common Curiosities

#### What are examples of non-ohmic conductors?

Examples include semiconductor devices like diodes and transistors.

#### What defines an ohmic conductor?

An ohmic conductor is defined by its constant resistance and linear voltage-current relationship according to Ohm's Law.

#### Why are non-ohmic conductors nonlinear?

Their resistance varies with voltage, leading to a nonlinear voltage-current relationship.

#### Are all metals ohmic conductors?

Most metals are ohmic conductors, but some can exhibit non-ohmic behavior under certain conditions.

#### What role do non-ohmic conductors play in electronics?

They are used in applications requiring variable resistance, such as in rectifying and amplifying circuits.

#### Can the resistance of an ohmic conductor change?

The resistance of an ohmic conductor remains constant under standard conditions.

#### How is the graph of an ohmic conductor characterized?

The graph of an ohmic conductor is a straight line in a voltage-current plot.

#### Is copper wire an ohmic or non-ohmic conductor?

Copper wire is an example of an ohmic conductor.

#### Can temperature affect the behavior of ohmic conductors?

Yes, extreme temperatures can affect resistance, but under normal conditions, ohmic conductors maintain constant resistance.

#### Are non-ohmic conductors used in household appliances?

Yes, they are used in various household electronics for specific functions like controlling current flow.

#### Can ohmic conductors be used in computer chips?

Computer chips typically require non-ohmic conductors like semiconductors for complex tasks.

#### Do non-ohmic conductors obey Ohm's Law?

No, non-ohmic conductors do not follow Ohm's Law due to their variable resistance.

#### Are ohmic conductors energy efficient?

Yes, due to their constant resistance, ohmic conductors are generally energy efficient under normal operating conditions.

#### Why do ohmic conductors have a constant resistance?

Ohmic conductors have a uniform structure and material composition, leading to constant resistance.

#### How does temperature affect ohmic and non-ohmic conductors?

In ohmic conductors, resistance slightly changes with temperature, while in non-ohmic conductors, temperature can significantly impact their voltage-current relationship.

#### Can a material be both ohmic and non-ohmic?

Some materials can exhibit both behaviors under different conditions, but they are typically classified based on their behavior in standard conditions.

#### Are there safety concerns with using non-ohmic conductors?

Proper design and usage are crucial as non-ohmic conductors can behave unpredictably under certain conditions, posing potential safety risks.

#### What is a practical application of ohmic conductors?

They are used in basic electrical wiring and circuits where steady current is required.

#### Is resistance always the same in an ohmic conductor?

While resistance in an ohmic conductor is generally constant, it can vary slightly with changes in temperature or material degradation.

#### How does the cost of ohmic and non-ohmic conductors compare?

Generally, ohmic conductors like copper and aluminum are less expensive than many non-ohmic conductors used in specialized electronic components.

#### How does the environmental impact of ohmic and non-ohmic conductors compare?

The environmental impact varies widely based on the material and application, but in general, the production and disposal of electronic components with non-ohmic conductors can be more environmentally impactful.

#### How does voltage affect a non-ohmic conductor?

In non-ohmic conductors, changes in voltage lead to disproportionate changes in current.

#### Can you give an example of a non-ohmic conductor?

A diode is a common example of a non-ohmic conductor.

#### Why are ohmic conductors preferred in household wiring?

Ohmic conductors are preferred in household wiring due to their predictable and stable resistance, ensuring safe and consistent electrical performance.

#### What is the significance of a nonlinear voltage-current relationship in non-ohmic conductors?

It allows non-ohmic conductors to be used in applications like voltage regulation and signal modulation.

#### Are semiconductors ohmic or non-ohmic?

Semiconductors are generally non-ohmic conductors, as their resistance changes with voltage.

#### Do non-ohmic conductors have a place in everyday electrical appliances?

Yes, non-ohmic conductors are used in many everyday appliances for functions like dimming lights, regulating temperatures, and processing signals.

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