People know what is an insulator. What is an electrical insulator? From the surface, there is only one word difference, which makes people feel that they are related. Yes, they are indeed connected and distinguished. Let’s first talk about what is an insulator.
Insulators, corresponding to conductors, are literally understood to be an object, a type of entity, such as mica, ceramics, plastic shells, rubber, etc., with an emphasis on the absence of free charge (bound charge only) inside an object. That is, in the presence of an electric field, there is no charge flow in the object. At this time, we call the object an insulator.
What is the electrical insulator?
Electrical insulators, also known as dielectrics, are materials that impede charge flow. In electrical insulators, valence band electrons are tightly bound around their atoms. This material is used as an insulator in electrical equipment, or it is said to be insulating. The positive and negative charges in the molecule are tightly bound, and there are very few charged particles that can move freely, and their resistivity is very large, about 10~10 ohm meters. Therefore, in general, the macroscopic formation of free charge under the effect of an external electric field can be ignored. Current, but considered non-conductive material.
Conductivity is determined by the behavior of the electrons in the material. The electron behavior in the crystal depends on the energy band structure. The conduction band is completely empty, and the material whose valence band is full is the insulator, and the energy difference between the conduction band and the valence band (band gap). When it is very large, it is not conductive under the usual electric field. For a substance with a small energy gap, although it is an electrical insulator at a lower temperature, when the temperature is increased, the valence band electrons are excited to the conduction band and they are also conductive. When the electrons or holes in the impurity level of the band gap are excited to the conduction band or the valence band, they also conduct electricity.
Perhaps the above concept of electrical insulation is somewhat official and hard to understand. I will talk about popular understanding below.
To understand this meaning, it is necessary to understand the meaning of “media” first, according to Baidu’s definition of “a substance that exists in another substance, the latter being the medium of the former.” Then the dielectric can be understood as a substance in which an electric field can exist, called a dielectric, that is, in a dielectric, an electric field can exist therein. The conductor is placed in an electric field. According to electrostatic induction, the internal electric field strength is 0V, which means that the electric field cannot be present in the conductor. When we say that a substance is a dielectric, we focus on the presence of an electric field, focusing on the description of the electric field, such as air. Under certain conditions, air is a dielectric, but we cannot say that air is an insulator. The concept of a dielectric contains an insulator, ie the insulator must be a dielectric.
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