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Making an insulator become a conductor?

  1. Nov 24, 2007 #1
    Good afternoon(or good morning,it depends on where you are :zzz:),this is my first topic in this great forum so don't be very tough with me okay?
    My question concerns the means of producing electricity and to be more precise:Electromagnetism.
    I read that if you move a conductor(such as copper for example)into a magnetic field,the valence electrons of its atoms will move out of their atoms(will be "freed")because of the energie provided by this magnetic field.
    So I was wondering:What if we move an insulator this time(plastic for example)into a huge and very strong magnetic field,strong enough to provide the needed energie for all the valence electrons in order to be freed.Does this mean that the plastic has become a conductor?
    Best Rigards,
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 24, 2007 #2


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    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    Insulator and conductor are just two ends of the scale.
    Everything is a conductor to some extent - if you grab hold of a powerline you would conduct!
  4. Nov 24, 2007 #3


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    Staff: Mentor

    In other words, yes, if you put enough voltage to just about anything, its electrons will move.
  5. Nov 24, 2007 #4


    Staff: Mentor

    This is often called "dielectric breakdown".
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