5 Facts On Wood As An Insulator(Why And Uses)

Any material which hinders the flow of electrons so that no electricity can flow through them is called as insulators. Let us discuss about insulative property of wood.

Wood is a natural insulator because it does not allow electric current and heat to flow through them. Presence of air packets and pores in the cellulose structure makes the wood an insulator. Wood prefers to hold the heat and charges within them rather than transferring, so it is as an insulator.

Wood consists of primary constituents of carbon, oxygen and hydrogen as their basic components, which offers resists for the conduction so that wood is considered as an insulator. In this post, let us discuss some more facts regarding the insulating property of wood.

Why is wood a good electric insulator?

Availability of free electrons in the material distinguishes the material as conductor and insulator. Let us reason out why wood is an electrical insulator.

Wood is a good electric insulator because tightly bound electrons to the nucleus. Even though wood consists of n number of electrons, these electrons do not flow freely to carry charges. The air space in the wood cells makes the electrons reside rather than flow to conduct electricity.

The composition of wood is the mixture of variety molecules such as cellulose, hemicelluloses, lignin and their extractives which have lack in free electrons and the outer electrons in the valence shell is so tightly bounded such that the movement is restricted.

Is wood a good heat insulator?

Any material which does not allow heat to pass through them is called a heat insulator. Let us check whether the wood is a heat insulator or not.

Wood is a good heat insulator as the flow rate of heat through wood is restricted because the heat resides on the empty space and it does not transfer to any other object.

Uses of wood as an insulator

Wood is the exoskeleton of the tree and it is sufficiently lighter, so it has various uses in the real world. Let us provide a list of uses of wood as an insulator.

  • Wood chip insulation is used to insulate the home using sawdust and wood shavings.
  • Some utensil handles are made up of wood because of their thermal insulating property.
  • Wood fiber insulation is installed in the building to keep the building warm during cold weather.
  • The electrical circuits and switchboards in the laboratory are made using wooden boards as base because of its insulating property.

Is glass a better insulator than wood?

The resistance offered to the flow of electricity or heat helps to know the material as a better insulator. Let us learn which is a better insulator, wood or glass. 

Glass is definitely not a better insulator than wood because the thermal conductivity of glass is high compared to wood. The wood consists of lot of pores and there is no air trapping in the wood making it a better insulator.

Fiberglass is the most commonly used insulator than wood because the fiberglass has a large amount of air trapped in the structure, so it acts as a thin film.

When does wood conduct electricity?

Any object conducts electricity when the free flow of charges is possible. Let us look at the situation of wood conducting electricity.

  • Wet wood conducts electricity –The presence of moisture in timber reacts with wood components forming salt-containing ions available for conduction.
  • The electrical conduction in dry wood is also possible when the high voltage of electric current is passed to the wood because of trapped moisture in cellulose.

The electrical conductivity in wood is too low and it is often termed as leakage of current. The forest catching fire during thunderstorms is the best example to show wood can also be a conductor when it is wet and a huge amount of electric field is applied to them.


Let us end this post by stating that “Pure insulator is a myth” because even wood can conduct electricity in the presence of moisture and the wood can also expand and contract with the temperature. So, wood is a poor conductor and an insulator when it is dry.

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