Journal of Materials Science

, Volume 27, Issue 20, pp 5497–5503 | Cite as

Non-ohmic I–V behaviour of random metal-insulator composites near their percolation threshold

  • In-Gann Chen
  • W. B. Johnson


A large increase in electrical conductivity has been observed when a direct current voltage is applied to random metal-insulator composites near their percolation threshold. This reversible non-ohmic I-V behaviour, which is similar to that observed in zinc oxide varistors, has been studied in three metal/insulator systems including silver particles in a matrix of potassium chloride, and two different systems of nickel particles in a matrix of polypropylene. These composites have all been prepared by mechanically mixing metal particles with an insulator host in predetermined volume fractions. A physical model with a semi-phenomenological equation has been proposed to describe this non-ohmic I–V behaviour. The non-ohmic effect is postulated to arise from a localized reversible dielectric breakdown between narrowly separated metal clusters in the metal/insulator composite.


Zinc Nickel Electrical Conductivity Polypropylene Physical Model 
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Copyright information

© Chapman & Hall 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • In-Gann Chen
    • 1
  • W. B. Johnson
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Materials ScienceThe Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA

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