What are Conductors and Insulators – Examples & Their Applications

We know that the differentiation of elements around us can be done based on their physical properties like phase, flexibility, color, texture, solubility, polarity, etc. But, the classification of elements can be done based on their electric charge conductivity like conductors and insulators. For example, if we do a simple experiment using a small LED & a battery by connecting them with a cotton thread or a plastic, then the bulb doesn’t blink. If we repeat the same experiment with a metallic wire-like copper, then the bulb starts to glow. If we notice that, some of the elements don’t allow the flow of energy through them. This article discusses an overview of what are conductors and insulators.

What are Conductors and Insulators?

Definition: Conductors are one type of material otherwise substances. The main function of this material is to permit the flow of current through them. They are capable to carry out electricity as they permit flow electrons within them very simply. The property of conductors is to allow the conversion of light or heat from one source to another. The best examples of these are metals, animals, earth, humans, etc. Because of this reason, electric shocks will occur.

Whenever an electric charge is supplied to an object, then it will get distributed across the complete surface of the object, which consequences to the movement of the electrons within the object.


Definition: Insulators are one kind of material otherwise substances. The main function of this material is to resist the flow of current as well as heat through them. These are typically solid in nature & are used in a variety of systems. So insulators are different from conductors due to its property like resistance. The good examples of insulators are cloth, wood, glass, quartz, mica, etc. These are used as protectors because they provide safety against sound, electricity, and heat.

Types of Conductors and Insulators are available based on their functions and properties. Insulators are classified into four types like pin type, suspension type, strain & shackle insulator. The most commonly used conductor types are hard-drawn aluminum, hard-drawn copper & steel-cored aluminum.


Conductors and Insulators Examples

The examples of conductors and insulators include the following.

Most of the metals like aluminum, gold, silver, copper, and iron are good conductors. Because the flow of electrons will be from one atom to another.

For instance, the best example of a good conductor is copper because it allows the flow of electrons quite simply. On the other hand, aluminum is also a good conductor but compare with copper it is less. It is weightless so frequently utilized in power supply cables. Let’s take an example for the flow of electrons in a bulb. Once you turn on the light, then electrical energy supplies throughout the wire to make the bulb ON and emit the light.

The most common conductors are metals and other conductors are semiconductors, plasmas, electrolytes, plus non-metallic conductors like graphite & conductive polymers. Silver is also the best conductor but it cannot be used in practice due to its high cost. But, it is used in the specific equipment of satellites.

The best examples of insulators are rubber, glass, pure water, oil, air, diamond, dry wood, dry cotton, plastic, asphalt, etc Some more insulators are fiberglass, porcelain, ceramics, dry paper, and quartz.


The applications of conductors include the following.

  • Conductors are mainly used in real-life applications
  • Mercury in the thermometer is used to test the temperature of the human body.
  • Aluminum foils are used to store food as well as in the making of fry pans.
  • Iron is used in the manufacturing of the vehicle engine for conducting heat.
  • The iron plate is made up of steel and used for absorbing heat quickly.
  • Conductors are used in car radiators to eliminate the heat from the car engine.

The applications of insulators include the following.

  • Thermal Insulators prohibit heat to travel from one position to another. These are used to make thermoplastic bottles, in walls and fireproofing ceilings.
  • Electrical Insulators stops the electron flow of current through them. These are used in high-voltage systems, circuit boards & also in electric wire coating & cables.
  • Sound Insulators assist in noise level controlling because they are fine in sound absorbance. Thus, we utilize them in conference halls & buildings to build them noise-free

Difference between Conductors and Insulators

The differences between conductors and insulators include the following.



A conductor permits the flow of current through it.


Insulators don’t permit the flow of current through it.


The electric charge will be present on the outside of conductors


Electric charges will not present an the insulator.


When the conductor is kept in a magnetic field, then it doesn’t store energy.


When an insulator is kept in a magnetic field, then it stores energy.


Heat allowance in a conductor is extremely high


Heat allowance in an insulator is extremely low


The resistance of a conductor is very low


The resistance of an insulator is very high


Some examples of conductors are copper, mercury & aluminum Some examples of insulators  are wood, paper & ceramic


These are used to make electrical equipment.


These are used in an insulating electrical device for security purpose



1). Which one is the most conductive element from these; copper, iron, silicon, and silver?


2). Why metals are most preferred in making electrical wires?

As they are good conductors

3). Which material has zero resistance?


4). What is a semiconductor?

The electrical conductivity of material drops between a conductor & an insulator like Si and Ge.

5). The resistivity of a conductor can be affected by?

Temperature and the material used to make the conductor.

Thus, conductors and insulators are almost reverse in terms of functionality & properties. The main differences between these two are, conductors allow the flow of energy through them, whereas insulators control the flow of energy. The conductivity of conductors is high whereas insulators have low-conductivity. Here is a question or you, what is the energy band in conductors and insulators?

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