You guessed it. The main way metals conduct heat is via
the same moving electrons that conduct electricity. So it's nearly true
for ordinary metals that the thermal conductivity is just proportional
to the electrical conductivity. (This is called the Wiedemann-Franz
law.) So you can use your conductivity chart with confidence.
you want actual numbers of the "thermal conductivity" for different
materials. You can find tables like this in any of the good handbooks
for physical properties (for example, the CRC Handbook
or the Merck Index
). Your school library will probably have a book like this.
You can also find some tables like this one
online, but they may not give you all the information you need. How
easily something will conduct heat actually depends on the temperature
of the object, as well as what the object is made of. But many tables
just list it at one temperature. The books that I mentioned before give
the conductivities at lots of different temperatures, not just one.
You can also find most any information you're looking for by looking at a detailed periodic table like the one at WebElements.com
. This site has all sorts of information (including thermal conductivities) for all the different elements.
And finally, for why different things conduct heat the way they do, you can check out the answer our to the question How Different Metals Conduct Heat
-Tamara & Mike
(republished on 07/27/06)