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Types of Conductors

April 13, 2013

Introduction to types of conductors:

All substances are classified into three types known as conductors, insulators and semi conductors based on their ability to allow the electrical current to pass through them.

Conductors : Those substances which allow electrical current to pass through them completely are known as conductors. Examples are metals, alloys and fused electrovalent compounds.

Insulators : Those substances which do not allow electrical current to pass through them are known as insulators. Examples of insulators are wood, silk, cotton, glass, rubber, organic compounds like benzene and carbon tetra chloride.

Semiconductors : Those substances that allow the electrical current to pass through them partially (or) possess very low electrical conductivity are known as semi conductors. Examples of semi conductors are Silicon, Germanium, oxides of Manganese, Cobalt oxide, Titanium dioxide etc. Conductors of electricity are further classified into two types depending on their mode of transport of electrical charges inside them. These are electronic conductors and electrolytic  conductors.

Types of Conductors

IConductors of electricity are further classified into two types depending on their mode of transport of electrical charges inside them. These are electronic conductors and electrolytic conductors.

Metallic conductors : Metals and alloys conduct electricitiy due to the movement (mobility) of delocalised outershell electrons present inside them and are known as electronic conductors (or) metallic conductor. Electrical conduction through metals do not bring about any chemical transformations.

Electrolytic conductor : Electrovalent (or) ionic compounds conduct electrical current in their dissolved state (in solutions) or in their fused state only. These compounds consists of ions of opposite charges and in aqueous solution they exist as ions. In the presence of applied electrical field, these ions migrate to respective electrodes exhibiting electrical conductivity. This mobility of ions is responsible for conduction of electricity throughelectrolytes and is referred as electrolytic conduction. Passage of current through electrolytes is accompanied by chemical changes also.

Semicondutors and its types

In semiconductors  the forbidden gap is very small. Germanium and silicon are the best examples of semiconductors. The forbidden gap energy is of the order of 0.7eV for Ge and 1.1eV for Si. There are no electrons in the conduction band. The valence band is completely filled at 0 K. With a small amount of energy that is supplied, the electrons can easily jump from the valence band to the conduction band. For example, if the temperature is raised, the forbidden gap is decreased and some electrons are liberated into the conduction band. The conductivity of a semiconductor is of the order of 10^2 mho m–1.

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