Common Insulation Materials on Electrical Conductors

July 2, 2020

Do you know what the most common materials used for insulation on electrical conductors in Carlsbad, NM are? If getting a shock isn’t high on your list of things to do, it’s helpful to know what electrical conductivity is, why we insulate conductors and what works best for the job. Read on for a basic overview of common insulation materials and why they’re important.

What are insulation materials and why do we need them?

Insulation materials are simply materials that don’t carry an electrical current well. For example, metal and water are extremely good conductors, which is why you should never bring an electrically-powered appliance into or near a bathtub. Insulation materials are resistant to the current and will stop or severely impair the flow of electricity.

The human body can withstand some electrical current, usually about 40 to 60 volts. Anything higher, and your internal organs will be damaged. The skin is resistant to electricity, but our insides are not, and wet skin is significantly less resistant. When a human is exposed to a high electrical current, it interferes with the nerves that keep your heartbeat steady. Your heart will flutter, which can cause serious damage or even kill you.

That’s why dropping a hair dryer in the bathtub can be fatal, but being struck by lightning might not be, if the electricity only travels through your skin. Naturally, electricians have to take great precautions when working, especially if there’s moisture in the environment.

Common insulation materials

Insulation materials are important on the job, and they come in a variety of shapes, sizes and uses. For example, insulation mats are popular on work sites, while personal protective equipment (PPE) is made out of substances that won’t conduct a current. Even laypeople are familiar with the way wires on consumer electronics are coated to prevent shocks.

There are many common insulation materials used on electrical conductors in Carlsbad, NM. Some of the most popular include rubber, PVC, glass, resin, paper, varnish, laminate and even Teflon. For example, your consumer electronics have circuit boards made out of plastic and fiberglass, while wires are coated with PVC, silicone or rubber.

However, insulation materials can also be liquid and gaseous. Transformer oil is used to prevent arcs in utility devices like transformers and circuit breakers, while sulfur hexafluoride gas can provide a similar effect. In fact, some high voltage equipment uses a vacuum to prevent conductivity.

Even the shoes that an electrician wears need to be chosen carefully to protect them from currents. (You won’t see a steel-toed boot on an electrician’s foot.) Rubber soles and heels are popular, emphasizing the importance of disrupting a current before it can enter the body.

Next time you’re plugging in your electronics, look at the cord—now you know the basic science behind why we use insulation materials, and what the most common ones in Carlsbad, NM are.

If you need a skilled electrician for your commercial, industrial or residential needs, call JB Electric LLC today.

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