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Sabtu, 06 September 2008

Conductors and Insulators

Conductors and Insulators


In a conductor, electric current can flow freely, in an insulator it cannot. Metals such as copper typify conductors, while most non-metallic solids are said to be good insulators, having extremely high resistance to the flow of charge through them. "Conductor" implies that the outer electrons of the atoms are loosely bound and free to move through the material. Most atoms hold on to their electrons tightly and are insulators. In copper, the valence electrons are essentially free and strongly repel each other. Any external influence which moves one of them will cause a repulsion of other electrons which propagates, "domino fashion" through the conductor.

Simply stated, most metals are good electrical conductors, most nonmetals are not. Metals are also generally good heat conductors while nonmetals are not.

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