Chemistry KS3 & GCSE: What is superconductivity?

Mark Miodownik describes the discovery of superconductivity in solid mercury by Heike Kamerlingh Onnes in 1911.

An animation is used to explain the cause of electrical resistance in metals and how, at low temperatures, electrons pair up and navigate between metal ions without experiencing resistance.

In the years following Onnes' discovery, other metals were found to be superconductors at very low temperatures.

This clip is from Materials: How They Work.

Teacher Notes

Use to expand on understanding of conductivity in metals, to explain how superconductivity occurs in metals at very low temperatures and to illustrate how this phenomenon was discovered.

Following the clip, students could be asked to investigate which other materials become superconductors at temperatures close to absolute zero.

Curriculum Notes

These clips will be relevant for teaching Chemistry at KS3 and GCSE/KS4 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and National 4/5 or Higher in Scotland. The topics discussed will support OCR, Edexcel, AQA, WJEC GCSE in GCSE in England and Wales, CCEA GCSE in Northern Ireland and SQA National 4/5 and Higher in Scotland.

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