An insulator is any material that does not conduct or transmit electricity or heat. There are two types of insulators: electrical and thermal. Glass, Styrofoam, wood, porcelain, and plastic are examples of common insulators. However, plastic and Styrofoam are the ones that are used widely in household applications. Styrofoam is mostly used to insulate basements, floors, and roofs because it helps reduce heating costs. Insulators have several properties that hinder heat and electricity conduction.

High Resistivity
The ability to block electric current from passing through an object is referred to as electrical resistance. The resistance is calculated in ohms. The resistance will be one ohm when one volt produces a single ampere of current in an object. All objects have some resistance apart from superconductors. Insulators have high resistance while conductors have low resistance. Heat insulators also have high heat resistance, which prevents them from melting even at extremely high temperatures.

Breakdown Voltage
Another name for breakdown voltage is dielectric strength. All insulators conduct electricity and heat. However, insulators can lose their insulating properties with exposure to very high voltages. The voltage at which insulators lose their insulating properties is known as the breakdown voltage. Different insulators have varying applications and breakdown voltages. For instance, while plastic may be used as an insulator at home where there is less current, it cannot be used for industrial purposes.

Atomic Structure
Valence electrons found in insulators are tightly held together to prevent them from moving. With restricted electrons, no current can pass, which makes objects with this property such as plastic, wood and glass, the perfect insulators. Most liquids are not good insulators because in their aqueous state, they have delocalized ions that support the flow of electric current.

Air Permeability
This is a very important property of thermal or heat insulators. It refers to the ability of an object to allow air to flow through it. Good insulators contain high air permeability because air is an insulating matter.

Why Is Styrofoam a Good Insulator?
Also known as polystyrene, Styrofoam is petroleum based plastic form with outstanding insulating qualities. Since Styrofoam has exceptional air permeability properties, it shuts in warm air and prevents heat loss. It is often used as an insulator in disposable coffee cups and buildings. Trapped air in Styrofoam insulation helps to prevent heat loss from homes and buildings. You can find quality insulation materials from ceramic fiber insulation suppliers.