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Materials, which are commonly used in electrical and electronics engineering, can be classified as conductors, insulators, semiconductors.
Conductors: These are the material, which allow the current to pass through them. These have very low electrical resistance and are available in a large variety having different properties. Also the number of valence electrons is less than four. The, valence- band and the conduction- band overlap each other. Examples are copper, brass, aluminium, silver, gold, bronze, etc.
Semiconductors: These are the materials, which possess the electrical resistivity in between that of conductors and insulators. They are used for the manufacture of diodes and transistors. Also the number of valence electrons is equal to four. There is a small forbidden energy gap of about 1eV between the conduction and the valence band. Examples: germanium, silicon, selenium, etc.
Insulators: These are the materials, which do not allow the current to pass through them without any appreciable loss. They have very high electrical resistance and are also available in a large variety to cover different applications. Some of the specific insulating materials are used for the purpose of storing of an electrical energy and are called dielectric materials such as mica, ceramic, paper etc. These materials are used as a dielectric in capacitors. Also the number of valence electrons is more than four. The energy gap between valence and conduction band is very large (more than 5-6 eV). Examples: Mica, rubber, ceramics, glass, diamond etc.
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