Q:

Why is rubber a good insulator?

A:

Quick Answer

Rubber is a good insulator because it prevents electrons from moving through it easily and gaining energy, which causes an electrical charge. Electrons are transferred to rubber, but they cannot move fast enough to gain the energy they need to disperse an electrical charge.

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Full Answer

Because rubber is a good insulator, it is used on the outside of wires that are used to conduct electricity. An insulator is a material that reduces or stops the flow of an electrical current. Rubber provides protection from the dangers of electrical charges being carried through the metal conductors.

In rubber, the electrons are tightly bound within the material, which means that they are not free to be shared by neighboring atoms. The properties of rubber allow the electrons to slow down. In some cases rubber can completely prevent electrons from moving.

Electrical cords are a good example of rubber being used as an insulator. If a cord is frayed and has damaged the outer rubber lining, the rubber will not be an effective insulator. If the conductors (wires) are exposed, it is necessary to replace the cord.

Keeping electricity bound within the material is the primary goal of an insulator, and because of this, rubber is a very good choice.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    What elements are in rubber?

    A:

    The two most common elements found in natural rubber are carbon and hydrogen. Eighty percent of the world's natural rubber supply is cultivated from rubber trees that grow in tropical climates such as Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia. Rubber tree plantations can yield 30 to 35 grams of rubber per tree in a single day, which is then used in products such as heavy duty tires.

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  • Q:

    What are the properties of rubber?

    A:

    The most common properties of rubber are its elasticity, resistance to water and its use as an electrical insulator. When raw rubber is heated, it becomes sticky, and when it is in colder temperatures, it tends to break, just like the synthetic variety.

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    What is the density of rubber?

    A:

    The density of rubber is dependent upon the kind of rubber; hard rubber has a density of 74 lb/foot cubed, while soft commercial rubber has a density of 69 lb/foot cubed and pure gum rubber has a density of 57-58 lb/foot cubed. The term "rubber" has had many meanings over the years, including as a reference to a horse towel in 1598 and a polished brick in 1744 before it came to mean the elastic substance used today.

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  • Q:

    Why is styrofoam a good insulator?

    A:

    Styrofoam works well as an insulator because it mostly consists of air confined to small pockets. These pockets hinder the convection process from carrying heat energy away from (or to) the substance inside the container.

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