Electrical insulators are materials through which electric charge does not flow freely. Insulators have high electrical resistivity.

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I touched a tree that was touching an electric fence and got an electric shock. How is this possible if wood is an insulator?

I touched a tree that was touching an electric fence and got an electric shock. How was this possible if wood is an insulator? The tree wasn't wet either, and it was a pretty strong shock too.
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Why are ceramics good electric insulators?

I know it depends a lot on the composition, so not all are great electric insulators. So what makes it good or bad? And is it different from what makes them good thermal insulators? Power line ...
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Magnetic field insulators

I was wondering if there is any way to stop the magnetic field, without having the insulator turned into magnet. Let me present this as a simple case, there is a magnet to the left and a piece of iron ...
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materials that repel positrons?

In this article is discussed at some length positron formation in metallic surfaces. Positrons have work functions that describe how much energy they have to receive in order to be extracted from the ...
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What's the difference between insulators and topological insulators?

What's the difference between insulators and topological insulators? When I asked some people about this, they told me that "because the topological insulators have gapless edge states,...", but what ...
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Are insulators non-ohmic conductors?

Can insulators/ dielectrics be considered as non-ohmic conductors ? As they apparently breakdown when sufficiently large potential differences are applied across them.
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Spin Liquid in a band insulator?

In the literature, spin liquids are only possible in Mott insulators, however, I'm not entirely sure why the nuclear spin can't create a spin liquid in a band insulator. Is this possible? If so, is ...
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Semiconductors, Solid-State Physics

We know, that conductors, conduct because their valence energy band is "half" full, and k ("wave vector") can increase and therefore the electrons under the influence of a electric field can "move", ...
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188 views

Why is more intrinsic carriers bad for high temperature semiconductors?

I'm taking a solid state course, and is currently on the subject of dielectrics. In one of the sections, concerning "Impurities in Dielectrics" the books says: "Impurities can also be used to make ...
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Do metals *really* conduct at zero temperature?

The questions is mostly in the title, but might expose another of my misunderstanding of the band structure of solids and how that leads to metals and insulators. If we have a solid, and the fermi ...
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1answer
101 views

What is the best insulator for static charges? [closed]

I am trying to find a solid material that almost fully (since there is not a thing that can fully insulate electricity) blocks static charges from one layer to another. I know plastic is a good ...
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insulator based gauss law questions

My book is incredibly scarce on insulator based Gauss law questions. Conductors seem to handle themselves pretty simply. Here's a question I'm working on that isn't part of my book. where the radii ...
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Why do we get electric shocks when most structures are insulators?

Suppose I was standing in the sea, and touched an electric fence; I would receive an electric shock, because both my body and the sea are conductors, and create a path for the electricity to flow. The ...
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50 views

What's the difference between semiconductor and insulator (besides band gap)?

The typical classification of electronic materials is metal-semiconductor-insulator. Is there any actual difference between a semiconductor and an insulator, besides the size of the bandgap?
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Can the Fermi energy lie into the band gap?

Fermi energy $\rightarrow$ highest energy level filled at $T=0K$ Fermi level $\rightarrow$ Energy level where we have a chance of $50\%$ to find an electron. Now in my course text they say that for ...
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376 views

Work functions of ceramics/insulators

Is anyone aware of or know of a good source or means of estimating the work function of a ceramic material? Typically, work functions are given for pure elemental metals, rather than for compounds, ...
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1answer
87 views

Capacitor-like-thing for controlling temperature of fluid?

I want to minimise the Gibbs' phenomenon like thing i.e. sudden peaks (temperature peaks here) in a container. Assume you have a cone where you want to block the transmittance of the temperature into ...
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1answer
505 views

Question about liquid / gaseous insulators

I'm looking for information about liquid / gaseous insulators, but I can't find any, is there any website (because I can't find on Wikipedia) where I can get this information? Also, can I get a list ...
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113 views

Single directional electric field insulator?

Is there any material, (kind of like a one way mirror), which allows an Electric Field to pass through from one direction, but not from the other? Thanks. Edit: As Ali has pointed out, one way ...
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78 views

Grounding insulative material

When grounded, can an insulative material keep its charge for any measurable length of time? Or, I suppose, if it was a perfect insulator, would it discharge at all? An example might be a charged ...
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45 views

Why Solid Insulators have highest breakdown voltage?

Why does solid insulating materials have a higher breakdown voltage when compared to that of liquids and gases? Can anyone explain this in simple words?
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55 views

Can you calculate the charge after rubbing two objects

If there are two insulators and you rub them together for a long time, is there a way to calculate how much charge should have transferred between them. I'm sure there is some relation to the ...
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99 views

Static electricity and insulators

I've read that Stephen Gray in his experiments on electricity, he has found that static electricity can be conducted -transferred- through an insulator thread made of silk. So, how could that happen ...
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Does all electrical insulator can be electrostatically charged?

Does all electrical insulator can be electrostatically charged, or insulator with only dielectric property can? Thank you.
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How can a glass rod become charged if it is an insulator?

I was reading some of the other questions, and I found this one about a glass rod and how it gains a net charge when rubbed with a silk scarf. I learned from working in a shop one summer that most ...
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1answer
164 views

How to make charges of a charged conductor evenly distributed over the surface of the object?

Is there a way to make the charges of a charged conductor evenly distributed over the surface? I know the charges of a charged insulator are evenly distributed but I want to know that if there is a ...
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24 views

How is the ground state of an insulator related to a confined state and a localized state?

For an insulator, the real part of the conductivity is zero, i.e., the imaginary part of the current-current correlation function is zero. How is this related to a confined state and a localized state?...
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109 views

crystal structure of metals

I am studying solid state physics and I'm a complete newbie in that sense. I know that semiconductors and group IV elements bond themselves in the FCC structure with covalent bonds which satiate the ...
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Can we charge any two bodies (insulators) by rubbing?

I am not talking about the usual glass rubbed with silk rather any two insulators found in nature. If we rub them, will they get charged? Like cotton and plastic etc.
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How can a metal and an insulator have high dielectrics yet one is conducting and one is insulating?

I don't get it: insulators are referred to as dielectrics. The higher the dielectric the higher the insulation(?). But the dielectric constant of metals is considered infinite. Aren't they supposed to ...
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Movement of electrons in conductors and insulators

In conductors, the electrons can easily move unlike in insulators that prevent them from moving. What properties in conductors and insulators make them act in such way? Is it related to the position ...
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385 views

When I take a Gaussian surface inside an insulating solid sphere, why does the outer volume have no effect on the electric field?

Say I try to find the magnitude of the electric field at any point within an insulating solid sphere. I know that in the case of a conductor, the electric field within it is 0. However, I have not ...
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Can I use an IV curve alone to differentiate between metallic, semiconducting and insulating materials?

Assuming the size of the bandgap is expressed as resistance in the IV curve, could I tell between metals, semiconductors an insulators by only doing an IV sweep? For example very high slopes (large $\...
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1answer
73 views

Is it possible for a conductor initially, not to have a charge?

Well I'm confused. The thing that was implanted to me is that when I hear about conductors, some charge is present and it can move freely. Now what I want to know is that is it possible for a ...
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63 views

Will charge transfer without friction

I know rubbing two objects of different materials together will result in a negative charge on whichever material has a higher electron affinity. However, I was wondering if a negatively charged ...
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64 views

When a charged insulator is touched by a conductor, What really happens?

1-how does the conductor get charged although the electrons in the insulator are not free to move? 2-If the conductor material is connected to the earth, Will the insulator be discharged?
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Preventing Electricity Leakage With Insulators

If we charge an object made of insulating material, the charges on it would leak to the medium as the time passes, due to the potential difference. I would like to know if there is a way to prevent ...
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what is the physical significance of dielectric constant and loss tangent?

I want to know that the significance of dielectric constant and loss tangent behaviour. How it characterises the materials. and possible relation between the dielectric constant and polarisation ?
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How to prove R value for insulation?

I ran some tests on different types of insulation. I heated water, and placed it into an insulated box. The temperature was recorded every minute, for the water, as well as the air. The insulation ...