10 Differences between Conductor and Insulator

What is Conductor?

Conductors are the materials or object that allows the current to flow through it. It also allows heat to be transmitted through the object.

Conductors are materials that have a large number of free electrons, it allows the flow of current through it.

Examples of conductors: Metals such as aluminium, carbon, human body earth, animals

Why aluminium conductors are used for overhead transmission instead of copper conductors


Properties of a Conductor

  • Free charges exist in the conductor’s surface
  • Very low mechanical strength
  • Low dielectric strength

What is Insulator?

Insulators are material that does not have free electrons so it resists or does not allow the flow of current through them. Insulators are used as they do not let the flow of heat.

Examples of insulators: Glass, dry wood, paper, etc.


Properties of an Insulator

  • High mechanical strength
  • High dielectric strength
  • Capacity to withstand high-temperature variations

Symbolic Representation


Electron Representation





Conductor Vs Insulator

S.No Conductor Insulator
1 It allows flow of current It does not allow flow of current
2. Free electrons are present No free electrons are available
3. When conductors placed in magnetic field, it doesn’t store energy When insulators placed in magnetic field, it stores energy
4. The resistance of a conductor is very low The resistance of a insulator is very high
5. A conductor’s main role is to provide a conduit between a power source and a load. The main role of an insulator is blocking the flow of energy
6. Atoms cannot be able to hold onto their electrons tightly Atoms can bound electrons tightly
7. The flow of heat (thermal conductivity) is very high The thermal conductivity is very low
8. Conductors are mainly used to make electrical equipment Used to make insulating electrical equipments for safety purposes
9. Good conductors have less or no resistance Ideal insulators have high or infinite resistance
10. Copper, Aluminium, Mercury are good examples of conductors Dry wood, Glass, Ceramics are main examples of insulators

Application of Conductors

  • Conductors are used to manufacture electrical equipment
  • Conductors are used to manufacturing electrical wire to conduct electricity

Application of Insulator in circuits

  • Thermal insulators keep heat from moving from one place to another. These are employed in the manufacture of thermoplastic bottles, as well as in the construction of walls and the fireproofing of ceilings.
  • Electrical insulators obstruct the movement of electrons in a current. These are utilised in high-voltage systems, circuit boards, and electric wire coating and cables, among other applications.
  • Because of their excellent sound absorption, sound insulators aid in noise management. As a result, we use them to make conference halls and buildings noise-free.

Some Useful Questions

1. What factors affect resistivity of a conductor?

Factors affect the resistivity of conductors are

  • Temperature- Conductivity increases with an increase in temperature
  • Material used
  • The pressure exerted into the material
  • Ageing
  • Alloying

2. What is Semiconductor?

A semiconductor is a material that’s property is in between conductor and insulators. Semiconductor conducts electricity more than an insulator but less than a pure conductor.

Semiconductors are used to make integrated circuits (ICs) and electronic discrete components like diodes and transistors. Silicon and germanium are two common elemental semiconductors. The most well-known of these is silicon. The majority of integrated circuits are made of silicon.

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