Conductors and Insulators

The flow of charges in a material depends on its properties - whether it will allow charge to flow through it or not. It also depends on how much an object could attract charges. These properties of the material are called conductors and insulators.

Both the conductors and insulators are made up of atoms. However, they differ in the flow of the electrons in their surface.

Conductors pertain to the materials which allow the flow of charges. Transfer of charges can also happen from a conductor to another conductor.

In a conductor, electrons flow freely. They can move from one atom to another. The charge acquired is evenly distributed all throughout the surface of a conductive material to lessen the repulsive force in the material. This distribution of charge is due to the movement of electrons along a conductor.

The transfer of charge can also happen when a conductive material interacts with a charged material. This transfer of charge happens faster from a conductor to another conductor. If a charged body is touched to another conductive material, the charge maybe transferred easily which is due to the free flowing of the electrons. The electrons will first gather at the point where there is contact between the two materials. After the conduction process, the charge will then be evenly distributed all throughout the surface of the receiving material.    

Metals are the most conductive materials. These materials are good conductors of heat and electricity. They are used in electrical wirings to transfer electrons from the source to the loads that will use electric current. Parts of the appliances are also made of conductive materials to allow a flow of charge for it to function. But, why are we not electrocuted while holding them? It is because covering it is a material which does not allow the charge to flow - these are the insulators.

Insulators refer to the materials which do not allow the flow of charges. Insulated materials do not allow the electrons to move freely into its surface. The electrons and protons are fixed in their position, they don't move. When a charged object is in contact with an insulator, the charge will just remain on its position since the insulator will hinder the flow of charges. Rubbers and plastic materials are examples of insulators. Heat and electricity will not flow on them.

Electrical wirings are coated with insulated materials so that one can hold them. With the help of the insulator, we are able to connect wires, and plug in our appliances without getting electrocuted since the insulator prevents the electrons to flow into our body.