The standoffs are commonly used as separators in mechanical and electronic industries. They can be made from different materials that come in various ranges of dimensional categories. For insulators, the standoff format is very useful. It will eliminate the direct physical contact between the two electrical components that may cause the materials to short out. In order to understand how necessary standoff insulators are for a certain project, it is helpful to review the different electrical operations and also the available types of insulators.
Insulation versus conduction
Conductors function under the premise that a certain charge will move in a specific material where the electrons get excited. When the charge moves continuously and in an erratic fashion, this will result in an energy build up and then creates a flow of electricity through a substance that can readily conduct electricity. The insulator is any material that lacks the physical properties which can excite electrons. The reason for this feature in insulators is for their band gap. This constitutes the difference in a material’s valence as well as its conductivity.
Electrical insulators are usually made up of strongly bonded valence electrons which prevent them from entering in a state of excitement. However, there are instances when the electrons in the material will be able to overcome the bonds. This happens when a sufficient voltage is applied to the insulator in order to excite its electrons. The insulator then becomes a conductor of electricity. When this happens, the material is usually damaged thereby altering the former physical properties of the insulator.
The material that is used to create the insulator will be influential in ascertaining the efficacy in certain applications. Manufacturers usually produce porcelain insulators from quartz, feldspar rock or clay. These materials can tolerate electrical stress, high voltages and regulate the flow of charges. In addition, porcelain also has high resistance to corrosion and deformation as well as high tensile strength.
Ceramics on the other hand are more susceptible to fracture because of their rigidity. The common alternatives to insulators which are ceramic-based are composite materials as they lessen the potential for cracking. A composite material like a fiberglass core which is sheathed in rubber, is capable of providing greater physical flexibility and resistance to moisture. However, this material has lower tolerance for voltage and has a much fast rate of wear compared to ceramics.
Plastic insulators are typically made from polymer resins. These materials are very versatile and are cheaper compared to composite and ceramic materials.