Explain the difference between conductor and insulators. Give at least 3 examples of each?

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Feb 23, 2017


Most materials can be classified as conductors or insulators (dielectrics) based on their electrical conductivity.

Conductors have superb conductivity. Superb as in, of the order of #10^(22)# #Sm#.

Insulators are substances with very high resistivity or very low conductivity.

By conductivity, I mean electrical conductivity.

Examples of conductors include Copper, Gold, Platinum, Aluminium, Mercury, Silver, Various electrolytes, Graphite etc.

Examples of dielectrics include rubber, wood, plastic, various plastic like polymers, etc.


The difference between conductors and insulators is due to electronic structure of atoms and molecules.

Wherever we have free electrons, we have a solid conductor where free electrons help in conduction.

In electrolytes, charged Ions perform conduction.

Dielectrics (or insulators) don't have free electrons present.

Free electrons mean, the electrons that are not associated with a particular atom, they are free to move around the crystal lattice.

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