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Insulators and Conductors. Electric Circuit Current provided by battery flows through wire, into the light bulb, through another wire, and back to the battery. Current: flow of electrons. Battery. Electric lamp (glowing). Electric lamp (not glowing). Insulator doesn’t let electrons flow.

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insulators and conductors
Insulators and Conductors
  • Electric Circuit
    • Current provided by battery flows through wire, into the light bulb, through another wire, and back to the battery.
  • Current: flow of electrons


Electric lamp (glowing)

Electric lamp (not glowing)


doesn’t let electrons flow


lets electrons flow

  • Pencils are a good demo, touch the wires to the wood (no light), then touch them to the graphite (the LED lights up).
  • Try sliding the loose ends of the wires closer & farther, it may effect the LED’s brightness -more distance the higher the resistance in the circuit.
  • The Multi-meter isn’t so much for the testing of conductivity in this instance, it can be but the numbers usually loose the kids. It mostly serves to show the older kids that conductivity/resistance can be directly quantified.
applications of insulators and conductors
Applications of Insulators and Conductors


Zero Resistance Infinite conductivity

Only at very low Temperature

High-Tension wires

High-Voltage Transmission Lines:

Up to 765,000 Volts

Wires are Copper

Insulators are ceramic

(they used to be glass).

Computers have printed circuit boards with copper lines connecting different Silicon chips.

High-Voltage Breakdown Insulators

Silicon is a semiconductor it can conduct or insulate

insulators and conductors3
Insulators and Conductors

Free electronsfrom outer shells of metal atoms can move throughout material

Metal ions (+) remain stationary


Conductors let electrons go. They travel anywhere in the material.

Insulators let electrons flow like dogs running free

There are NO free electrons, electrons are shared between atoms in bonds.

Insulators hold electrons close like a dog on a leash

Metal ions (O) remain stationary

Conductors let electrons flow like dogs running free


Higher Resistance

Lower Resistance

Resistance: is like resistance to water flow in a hose. Larger diameter hose -less resistance, longer hose –more resistance

Voltage like pressure, current like flow

  • Resistance: How much the material resists the flow of electrons

R = V / I

  • The higher the resistance, the slower the flow of electrons, the smaller the power output

R = ( x L) / A

R - Resistance  - Density L - Length A - Area