Difference Between Dielectric and Insulator (With Table)

Dielectric and Insulators are two insulators but with totally different functions and working. The dielectric insulator allows and even saves electricity while the Insulators resists electricity from passing through it and even resists the heat. Although, being an insulator, both of them works oppositely and have totally different uses. One is used for saving the electricity to pass while one is used to resist the electricity and the heat.

Dielectric vs Insulator

The difference between the dielectric and the insulator is that the material which stores or saves the electrical energy in an electric field is the dielectric material while on the other hand, the material which blocks the flow of electrons in an electric field is the insulator.

The dielectric material can be polarized while in the presence of an electric field while insulators, on the other hand, do not get polarized. Talking of the dielectric constant, the dielectric ones have a high number of them while insulators have a comparatively low dielectric constant.

The electric charges are stored in the dielectric materials while in the insulators, they are blocked. The insulators are generally used in wires and cables as they prevent electricity so that there is no chance of getting an electric shock while dielectric material is generally applied in the capacitor.

The dielectric materials are used to check whether the insulation of the component is protecting the users sufficiently from the electric shocks or not. While the insulators are mainly used prior any high potential tests so as to eliminate any contamination in the insulation of electricity. The dielectrics have the ability to withstand the high electric stress without any conduction. But the insulators restricts any transfer or flow of electrons.

Dielectrics are basically just insulators that contain no free electrons in them. When an electric field is applied to them, the dielectrics can be easily polarized. While Insulator is a material that does allow heat or electricity to transfer from it. Some of the insulating material includes- paper, glass, oil, rubber, and plastic. Although the vacuum is also an insulator it cannot be considered a material

Comparison Table Between Dielectric and Insulator

Parameters of comparisonDielectricInsulators
DefinitionIt is an electric insulator having the ability to withstand high electric stress without any conduction.They are the material or devices that restrict the transfer of heat or electricity.  
UseIt is used to check whether the insulation of the component is protecting the users sufficiently from the electric shocks or not.It is mainly used prior to any high potential tests so as to eliminate any contamination in the insulation of electricity.
PolarizationWhile in the presence of an electric field, the dielectrics can be polarized very easily.The insulators cannot be polarized.
Number of dielectric constantsThe dielectrics have a high number of dielectric constants.the insulators have comparatively low number of dielectric constant.
ExampleMica, plastic, and oxides of various materials.Rubber, glass, diamond, wood, and oil

What is Dielectric?

Dielectric is basically a material that has a poor amount of electric conductivity but it inherits an ability to save an electrical charge. They are basically just insulators that contain no free electrons in them. When an electric field is applied to them, the dielectrics can be easily polarized. Thus, it can be said that their behavior in the field of electricity is entirely different as compared to that of conductors.

There are two types of dielectric materials- Polar and Non-Polar. The polar ones are permanent in electric dipole and their polarization is dependent on the temperature. While the non-polar ones the induced electric dipole and their polarization are totally independent of the temperature.

What is an Insulator?

The insulator is a material that does allow heat or electricity to transfer from it. Some of the insulating material includes- paper, glass, oil, rubber, and plastic. Although, vacuum is also an insulator it cannot be considered as a material. Mostly, all of the electrical materials are covered by the insulation so as to avoid any electric current from it.

Generally, insulators are rated at some hundreds of volts but some of them which are used for power distribution are even rated as high as hundreds of thousands of volts. In order to make any unintended contact, insulators are supported or kept from electrical conductors.

Main Difference Between Dielectric and Insulator

  1. The main and significant difference between the dielectric and the insulator is that the dielectric allows and stores the flow of electricity in it and through it while the insulator, on the other hand, blocks and prevents the flow of electrons and electricity from it.
  2. The dielectric material can be polarized while in the presence of an electric field while insulators, on the other hand, do not get polarized.
  3. The molecules in a dielectric material are very weekly bonded whereas the molecules in an insulator are strongly bonded to each other.
  4. The dielectric has a high number of dielectric constants while insulators have a comparatively low dielectric constant.
  5. The insulators are generally used in wires and cables as they prevent electricity so that there is no chance of getting an electric shock while dielectric material is generally applied in the capacitor.
  6.  Examples of insulators that prevent the flow and transfer of electricity are- air, glass, plastic, dry wood, and copper. The example of a dielectric is the capacitor.

Conclusion

With this, we have concluded that the dielectric is nothing but an insulator material but the ones that stores and allows the flow of electricity while insulators on the other hand are the materials that have zero levels of electrical conductivity in them and does not allow the flow or transfer of electricity through them, in fact, they offer hindrance to the flow and transfer of electric current.

The dielectric materials are used to check whether the insulation of the component is protecting the users sufficiently from the electric shocks or not. While the insulators are mainly used prior to any high potential tests so as to eliminate any contamination in the insulation of electricity. The dielectrics have the ability to withstand high electric stress without any conduction. But the insulators restrict any transfer or flow of electrons.

References

  1. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0924013607004657
  2. https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-642-77453-9_8
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