Episode 13: Conductors and Insulators

Learn all about the fascinating world of energy with Enn and Gee!

EnnUh oh, ENN and GEE are stuck on our planet – a long way from their home on Planet Zog.

They’ll need energy to get home – and lots of it!

Now where on earth are they going to find energy?

What are electricity cables made of?

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Electricity is made up of tiny electrons travelling in one direction – a bit like a flowing river.  How fast or slow this river travels depends on the material they are travelling through.

Some materials – like metals – are super easy for electricity to travel through.

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Any substance which is easy for electricity to travel through is called a conductor.  This is why electricity cables are made of copper or aluminium, these metals are great conductors.

Other materials – like plastics and rubber are very difficult for electricity to travel through.  These types of substances are called insulators. 

Insulators might not sound very helpful where electricity is involved but the fact that they can slow down or block the current is a very good way to keep safe.

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Think about the cables and plugs attached to electrical items around the home. They’re made of plastic.  So are the plug sockets in the walls.

This all helps to keep you safe because the electricity can’t travel through these substances into your body.

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If your gadgets and toys have cables which are damaged, then don’t use the item and tell a grown-up straight away.

Electricity could travel from the wires inside directly into your body.

This is the same reason why you should never poke things into plug sockets – electricity will travel easily through the object and into you!

Enn and Gee’s Energy Challenge – with the National Grid’s Bringing Energy to Life programme!

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>Visit the Energy Challenge homepage
> Download the free podcast from iTunes

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