What do you mean by materials?

The materials are the naturally occurring substances found on Earth that constitute the raw materials upon which our global society exists. Earth materials are vital resources that provide the basic components for life, agriculture, and industry.

Materials are divided into a wide variety of categories based on their physical characteristics. Based on their electrical resistivity characteristics, materials are categorised into three types.

  1. Conductors
  2. Semiconductors
  3. Insulators


Conductors are the materials or things that let electricity go through them. The process takes place because conductors allow the electrons to move between atoms by providing voltage. Any substance's ability to transfer heat or electricity is referred to as conductivity.

Metals, non-metals (conductive polymers and graphite, for example), metal alloys, and electrolytes can all be used as electrical conductors. The typical materials we come into contact with on a daily basis include gold, aluminium, steel, copper, brass, and so on, with pure elemental silver being the most prevalent. The majority of the conductors are solid metals that have been formed into wires or cut into circuit boards.

The most well-known liquid conductor is mercury. Gases are bad conductors, although they can become good conductors when ionised. As a result, we may say that the ground, living things, people, and metals act as conductors to transfer heat and electricity from one place to another.

Conductor Applications

  • For heat conductivity, iron is employed in the construction of car engines.
  • To better withstand heat, the iron plate is constructed of steel.
  • Food packaging as well as heat-absorbing and -storing cooking equipment are made of aluminium.
  • In thermometers, mercury is utilised.


Materials that have the characteristics to behave like conductors as well as insulators under different conditions are known as semiconductors. We can also say that such materials, whose conductivity lies between conductors and insulators (nonconductors), Semiconductors are used in the making of various electronic devices like transistors, integrated circuits, and diodes. These devices are reliable, low-cost, easy to use, and powerful and efficient. Semiconductors include germanium, silicon, tellurium, tin, and other metal oxides.

Application of Semiconductors

Power equipment, light emitters (including solid-state lasers), and optical sensors all require semiconductors. They are future components in the production of electronic devices such industrial control equipment, communication with data processing, etc.


Materials that operate as insulators prevent heat or electricity from passing through them, which distinguishes their characteristics from those of conductors. Due to the substance's resistance and lack of free electrons, neither heat nor electricity can pass through it.

The majority of insulators are solid. Insulators include materials such as glass, mica, rubber, quartz, wood, wool, and plastic. Insulators have significant advantages in that they protect against heat, electricity, and sound.

Insulator Applications

  • Rubber is an excellent insulator, and it is widely used in fire-resistant clothing, tyres, and slippers. 
  • Electrical insulators are used in high-voltage systems and on electric circuit boards to prevent electrons and current from flowing through them. 
  • Over the electric cables and wires, insulating materials are also used. 
  • Winter clothing and blankets made of wool are used to keep a person's body warm.
  • Glass is the best insulator as it has the highest resistivity.

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