Physics Question #1484

Shauna, a 30 year old female from Winnipeg asks on July 1, 2003,

Is snow a conductor or an insulator?

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The answer

Barry Shell answered on July 2, 2003

Snow is an insulator. It is a poor conductor of heat due to its low density and the great amount of trapped air in between the snow crystals. If you are asking about conduction of electricity, it would be about the same. Only salt water conducts electricity. Distilled water is not a good conductor. Since snow is relatively pure water, and coupled with its low density and great deal of air, it probably is a poor electrical conductor. More can be found at this Alaska Satellite Fascility Website.

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