Materials that make good insulators do not have the ability to conduct electricity, such as glass. They insulate because they do not have enough free atoms to conduct electricity.Continue Reading
In order for a material to conduct electricity it must have atoms that are loosely bound and free. When atoms are loosely bound, they are free to take on other electrons. In insulating materials, the atoms are tightly packed together, so no electrons move through them. Some materials are better at insulating than others, like glass, fused quartz and mica. Other examples of insulators include air, water and plastic, although not all of these substances offer protective functions against electricity.
Unlike insulators, conductors need free moving atoms so electrons can move from the source of electricity and through the material. One example of this is copper. Copper has loose outer electrons that can jump from one atom to another. When electricity stimulates copper, a domino effect occurs, which entails the electrons jumping from one atom to the next. As such, it acts as a good conductor. Like copper, most metals act as good conductors, because their outer valences have loose electrons. In contrast, the majority of non-metals are better at insulating, or they are poor conductors.Learn more about Electricity
Glass, paper, Teflon and rubber are good insulators of electricity. An insulator is a substance that allows very little electric current to flow through it. There is no perfect insulator, but materials that offer a high degree of resistance to the flow of electrons are good insulators.Full Answer >
Wood is classified as an insulator and does not readily conduct electricity, but when wet, wood does have the potential to conduct electricity. Insulators resist the flow of electricity, as stated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.Full Answer >
Silicon is typically a very poor conductor of electricity and often considered an insulator. However, a process called doping introduces a small amount of other material into the crystal structure to convert silicon from an insulator to a semiconductor. Semiconductors are essential parts of computers and other electronics.Full Answer >
Glass is not a good conductor of electricity and is classified as an insulator not a conductor. An electrical insulator is any material that does not allow electrons and electric charge to flow freely. These materials make it hard for electric current to flow.Full Answer >