Conductors, insulators and semiconductors

The conductors are materials that allow the passage of electrical current, the insulation prevent the passage of electricity and semiconductors are those that can behave as conductors or insulators.

DefinitionMaterials that allow the movement of electrical charges.Materials that prevent the passage of electrical charges.Materials that can allow and prevent the passage of electrical energy.
FeaturesConduct electricity from one point to another.Protect electrical currents from contact with people and other currents.Conduct electricity, only under specific conditions and in one sense.
MaterialsGold, silver, copper, metals, iron, mercury, lead, among others.Rubber, ceramic, plastic, wood, among others.Silicon, germanium, sulfur, among others.

What are drivers?

They are the materials that allow the free movement of electrons , which is why they are used to create electrical circuits.

According to this, it can be said that all the materials or elements that allow current or moving electric charges to flow through them are known as conductors.

For electrons to move freely through conductive materials, they must be connected to a voltage source .

Conductors include metals, salt solutions, and acids.

Some of the metals most used as conductors are copper, gold, silver, aluminum and iron. Among these, copper is the most common because it is relatively inexpensive and good enough to do its job, just like aluminum.

Gold and silver could be considered the best conductive metals; however, its use is not very common due to its high cost.

If you look at most electrical appliances, you will see that they use one or more solid copper wires to conduct electricity. Depending on the electrical power, the thickness of the threads will increase so as not to overheat or burn.

These conductors are usually covered with an insulating material such as PVC (polyvinyl chloride).

Examples of conductors: silver, copper, gold, steel, among others.

You may also be interested in seeing Metals and non-metals .

What are insulators?

They are materials that do not allow electrons to circulate freely , thus making the flow of electric current impossible.

Insulators are used to cover an electrically conductive element, so it can resist the passage of current through the element it houses and keep it moving.

In addition, insulators protect these electrical currents to avoid contact with other conductive parts, as well as to protect people from direct contact with electrical voltages.

Some insulating materials where atoms do not give or receive electrons are glass, ceramics, plastic, mica, rubber, paper, wood, among others.

Any of these materials and others with similar characteristics offer total resistance to the passage of electric current. This is because any electron will be detected by the atoms and their circulation will be automatically impeded.

There are also natural insulators , such as dry air or mineral oil, and artificial insulators , such as Bakelite, polyvinyl chloride or polyester.

Examples of insulators: rubber, wood, plastic, glass, cork and others.

What are semiconductors?

They are the materials that can present electrical properties of conductors or insulators , depending on the characteristics of the context where they are found.

The electric or magnetic field, radiation, pressure and temperature of the environment are some of the factors that determine the behavior of semiconductors.

All materials that contain four electrons in their last level are generally semiconductors and are used mainly as elements of electronic circuits.

The characteristic of semiconductors is that they allow electric current to pass in only one direction and prevent it in the opposite direction.

Some of the most used semiconductors are silicon, germanium and, to a lesser extent, sulfur.

This type of materials in its purest expression are not used normally in everyday life. However, when modified, they can be used in the manufacture of electronic devices used to control electrical systems and equipment.

One of the most widely used semiconductor materials is silicon crystal . It is used to manufacture diodes, transistors, integrated circuits or the microprocessors used by computers, among others.

Examples of semiconductors: sulfur, aluminum, phosphorus, among others.

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