Many industries require materials that cannot conduct electricity or heat. After all, you don’t want to be shocked or burned while handling specific equipment. To prevent this, many appliances need to be coated in a material that does not conduct electricity or heat. In other words, they need to be insulators.
Many people turn to plastic to cover their appliances, especially their electrical appliances, but how good of an insulator is plastic? Here we give you the answers:
The Short Answer
The short answer to the question “is plastic a good insulator” is yes, it is. Plastic conducts neither heat nor electricity, making it well-suited to electrical applications.
The Long Answer
Plastic is made up of polymers, that is, long, repeating chains of macromolecules. These long chains of molecules are tightly bound but extremely flexible, so they can form and mold into various shapes. This elasticity is why plastic is used for dip molding and dip coating. It is also why plastic is such a good insulator.
Everyone knows that metal conducts electricity. It’s why we stay away from metal objects during a thunderstorm. The reason metal conducts electricity so well is because the electrons inside of metal move around freely, only flimsily attached to their respective atoms. Thanks to this freedom, they can easily conduct electricity. Plastic, on the other hand, has molecules that are tightly bound together, making it much more difficult for electricity to flow through.
For similar reasons, plastic is also a poor conductor of heat. Heat is generated when molecules vibrate back and forth or collide into each other, thus transferring thermal energy. However, since the molecules inside of plastic are so closely bound together, it requires a lot more energy for them to move and vibrate.
To learn more about how plastic can be used for electrical and thermal applications, contact Piper Plastics today.