Electrical Properties and Uses of Materials

Electrical Properties and Uses of Materials

Electrical Properties of Materials


  • Conductors are materials that allow free movement of electrons, facilitating electricity flow.
  • Common examples include copper, aluminium, and silver.
  • Used in wires, cables, and other components where efficient electricity transfer is needed.


  • An insulator is a material that resists the flow of electric charge.
  • Examples include rubber, glass, and plastic.
  • Main role is to prevent accidental contact with live electrical parts and protect from electrical shocks.


  • Semiconductors are materials with properties between conductors and insulators.
  • Important for electronics, as they can be manipulated to control electric current.
  • Silicon is the most common semiconductor material.

Electrical Application of Materials

Copper in cables and wires

  • Copper is the most widely used material for electrical wiring due to its high conductivity and flexibility.

Rubber and plastic as insulators

  • Rubber and plastic are commonly used as insulating materials in wiring and electrical devices for their excellent insulating properties and resistance to heat.

Silicon in microelectronics

  • Silicon is used extensively in microelectronics and computer chips due to its semiconductor properties.

Superconductors in high-performance applications

  • Superconductors, which can conduct electricity with no resistance, are used in high-performance applications like magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and particle accelerators.

Composite materials in circuit boards

  • Composite materials such as fibreglass or plastic embedded with copper tracks are used in the manufacture of circuit boards for their combined properties of insulation, durability, and conductivity.