Comparison between the conductor and insulator

Difference between the conductor and insulator

Conductors and insulators play a vital role in the modern world where almost everything is electric. Therefore knowing both these materials is a smart move. This article shows you the difference between the conductor and insulator.

Conductor

Conductors are the materials that are known to allow passage to current, heat, etc. to flow through them. They have high conductivity and low resistivity. Free electrons present in the outermost shell are responsible for the flow of the current.  

Free electrons move freely inside the conductor because there is no forbidden energy gap between conduction and valence band, both the energy bands overlap each other.

Read More: What is an electrical conductor?

Insulator

Insulators are materials that restrict the flow of current through them. As the insulator provides very high resistance and low conductivity, the material can inhibit the electric current or heat.

The forbidden energy gap between the conduction band and the valence band is so high in the insulator that almost no free electron can to the conduction band. Therefore there is no free movement of electrons inside the insulator.

Read More: Things about electrical insulators you should know

Difference between the conductor and insulator

ConductorInsulator
Conductor allows the flow of current, heat, etc. to pass through themInsulator restricts the flow of current, heat, etc.
They have very high conductivityThey have low conductivity
Resistance is lowThey have high resistance
The resistivity of the conductors may vary from low to highThey have very high resistivity
Conductors can store energyInsulators cannot store energy
The temperature coefficient of resistance of a conductor is positiveTemp. coefficient of resistance of insulator is negative
Electrons can move freely inside the conductorThe movement of electrons is restricted inside the insulator
The electric field only exists on the surface of the conductorAn electric field exists both on the surface and inside of the insulator
They have a weak covalent bondThey have an extremely strong covalent bond
In conductors, the conduction band has more electrons than the valence bandIn insulators, the conduction band is empty and electrons are present in the valence band
There is no energy gap between both the energy band of the conductorThe energy gap is high between the conduction and the valence band of the insulator
Used to make electrical wires, motors, etc.Used to make insulation sheet for electrical wires.
Examples: Copper, Gold, aluminium, silver, iron, etc.Example: Rubber, wood, glass, paper, PVC, etc.

Quick summary

Let’s summarize this article in a few points:

  • Conductors conduct electric current, insulator restricts the electric current
  • Conductors have high conductivity and low resistivity, whereas the insulators have low conductivity and very high resistivity.
  • Conductors can store energy but insulators cannot store energy.
  • Iron, gold, copper, etc. are a few examples of conductors, and glass, rubber, wood, etc. are a few insulators.

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