The electrical resistance of an electrical element is the opposition to the passage of an electric current through that element; the inverse quantity is electrical conductance, the ease at which an electric current passes. The SI unit of electrical resistance is the ohm (Ω), while electrical conductance is measured in siemens (S).

An object of uniform cross section has a resistance proportional to its resistivity and length and inversely proportional to its cross-sectional area. All materials show some resistance, except for superconductors, which have a resistance of zero.

The resistance (R) of an object is defined as the ratio of voltage across it to current through it, while the conductance (G) is the inverse.

For a wide variety of materials and conditions, V and I are directly proportional to each other, and therefore R and G are constant (although they can depend on other factors like temperature or strain). This proportionality is called Ohm’s law, and materials that satisfy it are called “Ohmic” materials.

In other cases, such as a diode or battery, V and I are not directly proportional, or in other words the I–V curve is not a straight line through the origin, and Ohm’s law does not hold.

In the hydraulic analogy, current flowing through a wire (or resistor) is like water flowing through a pipe, and the voltage drop across the wire is like the pressure drop which pushes water through the pipe.

The voltage drop (i.e., difference in voltage between one side and the other), not the voltage itself, is the driving force pushing current through a resistor. In hydraulics, it is similar: The pressure difference between two sides of a pipe, not the pressure itself, determines the flow through it. For example, there may be a large water pressure above the pipe, which tries to push water down through the pipe. But there may be an equally large water pressure below the pipe, which tries to push water back up through the pipe. If these pressures are equal, no water will flow.

The resistance and conductance of a wire, resistor, or other element is generally determined by two factors: geometry (shape) and materials.

Geometry is important because it is more difficult to push water through a long, narrow pipe than a wide, short pipe. In the same way, a long, thin copper wire has higher resistance (lower conductance) than a short, thick copper wire.

Materials are important as well. A pipe filled with hair restricts the flow of water more than a clean pipe of the same shape and size. In a similar way, electrons can flow freely and easily through a copper wire, but cannot as easily flow through a steel wire of the same shape and size, and they essentially cannot flow at all through an insulator like rubber, regardless of its shape. The difference between, copper, steel, and rubber is related to their microscopic structure and electron configuration, and is quantified by a property called resistivity.

Resistance can be affected by materials natural with regards to resistance… ohmic or not ohmic…. its relation to frequency… does it increase or decrease in resistance in relation to frequency… its shape… shape can affect higher or lower resistance… and temperature does it increase or decrease resistance in relation to temperature.

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