Conductors And Insulators – Examples, Definition, Properties


What are Conductors?

The substances through which electric charges can flow easily are called conductors.

Some substances readily allow passage of electricity through them, others do not. Those which allow electricity to pass through them easily are called conductors. They have electric charges (electrons) that are comparatively free to move inside the material. Metals, human and animal bodies and earth are conductors.

Examples of conductor:

Graphite, the human body, and the earth are good conductors of electricity. Some of the common conductor examples include metals such as:

  • Copper
  • Gold
  • Iron

What are Insulators?

The substances through which electric charges cannot flow easily are called insulators.

Most of the non-metals like glass, porcelain, plastic, nylon, wood offer high resistance to the passage of electricity through them. They are called insulators.

When some charge is transferred to a conductor, it readily gets distributed over the entire surface of the conductor. In contrast, if some charge is put on an insulator, it stays at the same place.

When we bring a charged body in contact with the earth, all the excess charge on the body disappears by causing a momentary current to pass to the ground through the connecting conductor (such as our body). This process of sharing the charges with the earth is called grounding or earthing

There is a third category called semiconductors, which offer resistance to the movement of charges which is intermediate between the conductors and insulators.

Examples of insulators

Some of the common insulator examples are given below:

  • Plastic
  • Wood
  • Glass
Conductor and Insulators
Conductor and Insulators

Differences Between Conductor and Insulators

Materials that permit electricity or heat to pass through it Materials that do not permit heat and electricity to pass through it
A few examples of a conductor are silver, aluminum, and iron A few examples of an insulator are paper, wood, and rubber
Electrons move freely within the conductor Electrons do not move freely within the insulator
The electric field exists on the surface but remains zero on the inside The electric field doesn’t exist

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