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2.7 thermal conductors and also insulators (ESAAI)

A thermal conductor is a product that permits energy in the form of heat, to be moved within the material, without any kind of movement of the material itself. One easy method to understand this ide is v a basic demonstration.

Thermal conductivity


To show the capacity of different substances to conduct heat.


You will certainly need:

two cups (made indigenous the same material e.g. Plastic)

a steel spoon

a plastic spoon.



Pour cook water right into the two cups so the they space about half full.

Place a metal spoon right into one cup and also a plastic spoon in the other.

Note i m sorry spoon heats up an ext quickly

Be mindful when working v boiling water and also when girlfriend touch the spoons together you can conveniently burn yourself.


The steel spoon heats up faster than the plastic spoon. In various other words, the metal conducts heat well, however the plastic walk not.


Metal is a an excellent thermal conductor, if plastic is a bad thermal conductor.

An insulator is a material that does not enable a deliver of electrical power or energy. Materials that are bad thermal conductors can also be explained as being good thermal insulators.

Well-insulated buildings need less energy for heater than structures that have actually no insulation. Two building materials that room being used an ext and much more worldwide, room mineral wool and also polystyrene. Mineral wool is a good insulator since it hold air quiet in the matrix of the wool so that heat is no lost. Since air is a negative conductor and a good insulator, this helps to keep energy within the building. Polystyrene is also a great insulator and also is able to store cool points cool and hot points hot. It has the added advantage of gift resistant come moisture, mould and also mildew.

A closer watch at heat conductivity

Look in ~ the table below, which mirrors the heat conductivity that a number of different materials, and also then price the inquiries that follow. The greater the number in the second column, the better the material is at conducting warmth (i.e. It is a an excellent thermal conductor). Remember the a product that conducts warmth efficiently, will additionally lose heat much more quickly than an insulating material.


Thermal Conductivity (( extW·m$^-1$·K$^-1$))


( ext429)

Stainless steel

( ext16)

Standard glass

( ext1,05)


( ext0,9)–( ext2)

Red brick

( ext0,69)


( ext0,58)

Polyethylene (plastic)

( ext0,42)–( ext0,51)


( ext0,04)–( ext0,12)


( ext0,03)


( ext0,024)

Use this information to answer the complying with questions:

Name two materials that are good thermal conductors.

Name two materials that are an excellent insulators.

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Explain why:

Red brick is a much better choice than concrete for structure houses that require less inner heating.