What is an Electrical Insulator?

electrical insulator railway closeup

If you are working with electrical components you may be asking, “what is an electrical insulator?” An electrical insulator definition is materials that are highly resistant with the ability to quell the flow of electricity. You may be surprised to learn that the air around you is actually a great electrical insulator. Questions we will uncover in this guide include:

  • What is an electrical insulator? 
  • Why are electrical insulators important?
  • What are some electrical insulators made from?

Why Are Electrical Insulators Important?

Now that we have discussed the electrical insulator definition, you may want to know why they are so important. Broadly speaking, all materials are conductors, semiconductors, or insulators. Insulators are crucial for enabling the safe transmission of electrical energy. Without electrical insulators, the heat produced by electrical wires would be overwhelmingly hazardous and the risk of shock would be high. 

Not only are wires commonly coated in electrical insulation, but the insulation serves a hybrid purpose. The insulation of wires is generally color-coded to provide information about the type of wire, positive or negative flow, and more! While conductors play a vital role in mitigating hazards, highly resistive materials are more common than you might think. 

Types of Electrical Insulators

As we have discussed, electrical insulators are crucial for safety, but what are they made from? Surprisingly, electrical insulators come in many different forms and derive from many common materials. The most frequently used insulator materials include:

  • Rubber
  • Glass
  • Oil
  • Diamond
  • Dry wood
  • Pure water
  • Dry cotton
  • Plastic
  • Asphalt

Other strong insulating materials include: fiberglass, dry paper, porcelain, ceramics, and quartz. The size, shape, and temperature of a material can also play a role in its resistivity. 

Consult with Gateway Cable Company for Your Project

Looking for further information on the electrical insulator definition? You can contact our team for insight into all of your electrical questions. We have years of experience building electrical components and can help you with your next project. Need equipment for your job? Request a quote from us today. Explore our diverse range of products, built with pride here in the U.S.A.