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Insulators are materials that hinder the free flow of electrons from atom to atom and from molecule to molecule. If the load is transferred to the insulator at the specified location, the excess load will remain at the original location of the load. Although insulators are not suitable for carrying charges, they play a key role in electrostatic experiments and demonstrations.
Some insulator manufacturers stopped producing glass insulators in the late 1960s and switched to ceramics. Recently, some tools have begun to switch to polymer composites for some types of insulators. Composite insulators are cheaper, lighter and have excellent hydrophobicity (the property of repelling water rather than absorbing it or dissolving in it).
Insulation workers usually determine the amount and type of insulation they need, and the installation method based on factors such as location, surface shape, and device usage. They attach insulation to obstacles, create insulating materials and protective covers when needed, and install sheets with bolts around insulated pipes to protect the insulation from the weather. They also measure and cut insulation to cover surfaces with measuring tapes, hand saws, knives and scissors, and seal or refine insulated surfaces or gain access to holes in plastic covers, canvas tapes, sealants, adhesive tape, cement or asphalt mastic.
All insulators become electrically conductive when a sufficiently high voltage is applied for the electric field to separate electrons from atoms. Some materials, such as glass, paper and Teflon, which have high specific resistance, are very good electrical insulators. A much larger class of materials is still good enough to prevent the flow of significant current at normal voltages, although they may have lower resistivity. Therefore, they are used as insulation for electrical lines and cables.
Insulators in Electrical Appliances
Electrical appliances use insulators to support and disconnect electrical wires without passing a current through them. The insulation material used loosely for wrapping electrical cables or other devices is called insulation. The term ‘insulator’ is also used in more detail when referring to insulation brackets used to connect distribution lines or transmission lines to electricity poles and transmission towers. Examples of insulators are plastics, polystyrene, paper, rubber, glass and dry air.