Electric Conductors and Insulators


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Materials that allow electricity to pass through them are called conductors. Since metals are good conductors of electricity, electrical wires are made up of metals. These conducting wires are used to connect various components of an electrical circuit. Copper, silver, gold and aluminium are a few examples of electrical conductors. Copper is the most commonly used material for making connecting wires. Sometimes we get electric shocks because our bodies are also good conductors of electricity.

Materials that do not allow electricity to pass through them are called insulators. Some common insulators are glass, air, plastic, cotton, thermocol, wood and rubber. As insulators do not conduct electricity they are used to protect us from the dangerous effects of  electricity. Without the help of insulators, the use of electrical appliances is impossible. 

Tap water is a good conductor of electricity, but distilled water (water in it its purest form), acts as an insulator. Distilled water is, therefore, used in batteries as an insulator.

We use various electrical appliances every day. The parts of the electric appliances that we touch are covered with insulating material. For example, plugs and switches are covered with an insulating material such as plastic, and the wire attached to the plug has a metal wire inside it, which is a conductor. So conductors and insulators work hand in hand.

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Activities & Simulations

Activity 1 

bbc.co.uk has created the  study material on electrical conductors and insulators. It has developed an interactive game which enables one to understand the topic better. 

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Activity 2

Teams.lacoe.edu has created the  study material to understnad the construction and working of an electric circuit and electrical conductors and insulators. 

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