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Conductors and Insulators

Conductors and Insulators

Solids are mainly classified into two groups, conductors and insulators. In conductors, electric charges are free to move from one place to another, whereas in insulators they are tightly bound to their respective atoms. In an uncharged body, there are equal number of positive and negative charges.

The examples of conductors of electricity are the metals, human body and the earth and that of insulators are glass, hard rubber and plastics. In metals, the free charges are free electrons known as conduction electrons.
Semiconductors are a third class of materials and their electrical properties are somewhere between those of insulators and conductors. Silicon (Si) and germanium (Ge) are well known examples of semiconductors.


    COULOMB’S LAW: Two point electric charges q1 and q2 at rest, separated by a distance r exert a force on each other whose magnitude is given by If between the two charges there is free space then Where ε0 is the absolute electric permittivity of the free space and ε0 = 8.85 x 10-12 C2…

  • If we comb our hair on a dry day and bring the comb near small pieces of paper, the comb attracts the pieces, why?

    If we comb our hair on a dry day and bring the comb near small pieces of paper, the comb attracts the pieces, why? Answer: This is an example of frictional electricity and induction. When we comb our hair, it gets positively charged by rubbing. When the comb is brought near the pieces of paper…

  • Can two similarly charged bodies attract each other?

    Yes, when the charge on one body Q is much greater than that on the other q and they are close enough to each other so that force of attraction between Q and induced charge on the other exceeds the force of repulsion between Q and q. However, two similar point charges can never attract…

  • Charging of Insulators

    Charging of Insulators Since charge cannot flow through insulators, neither conduction nor induction can be used to charge, insulators, so in order to charge an insulator friction is used. Whenever an insulator is rubbed against a body exchange of electrons takes place between the two. This results in appearance of equal and opposite charges on…

  • Charging by Contact

    Charging by Contact When a negatively charged ebonite rod is rubbed on a metal object, such as a sphere, some of the excess electrons from the rod are transferred to the sphere. Once the electrons are on the metal sphere, where they can move readily, they repel one another and spread out over the sphere’s…


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