If any sensible current flows through this insulator the galvanometer will show a deflection.
Theoretically this requires an infinite plate; or a perfect heat insulator, so that the lateral flow can be prevented or rendered negligible.
It is a well-ascertained fact that the insulator, gutta-percha, is, when kept under water, practically imperishable, so that it is only the original strength of the sheathing wires and the deterioration allowable in them that have to be considered.
The electroscope is provided with a charging rod C. In a dry atmosphere sulphur or amber is an early perfect insulator, and hence if the air in the interior of the box is kept dry by calcium chloride, the electroscope will hold its charge for a long time.
If the two small conducting spheres are placed with centres at a distance d centimetres, and immersed in an insulator of dielectric constant K, and carry charges of Q and Q' electrostatic units respectively, measured as above described, then the mechanical force between them is equal to QQ'/Kd 2 dynes.
The exact position of the core, and, therefore, of an index needle connected with it, is dependent on the ratio of the voltage applied to the terminals of the high resistance or insulator and the current passing through it, This, however, is a measure of the insulation-resistance.
Dielectric constant.-Since all electric charge consists in a state of strain or polarization of the dielectric, it is evident that the physical state and chemical composition of the insulator must be of great importance in determining electrical phenomena.
For the purpose of measuring resistances up to a few thousand ohms, the most convenient appliance is a Wheatstone's Bridge (q.v), but when the resistance of the conductor to be measured is several hundred thousand ohms, or if it is the resistance of a so-called insulator, such as the insulating covering of the copper wires employed for distributing electric current in houses and buildings for electric lighting, then the ohmmeter is more convenient.
We must, however, assume that the charge Q is so small that it does not sensibly disturb the original electric field, and that the dielectric constant of the insulator is unity.
The thinnest possible spherical shell of metal, such as a sphere of insulator coated with gold-leaf, behaves as a conductor for static charge just as if it were a sphere of solid metal.
On setting the dynamo in operation, a current passes through the shunt coil of the ohmmeter proportional to the voltage of the dynamo, and, if there is any sensible leakage through the insulator to earth, at the same time another current passes through the series coil proportional to the conductivity of the insulation of the wiring under the electromotive force used.
The cost of the cable before laying depends on the dimensions of its core, the gutta-percha, which still forms the only trustworthy insulator known, constituting the principal item of the expense; for an Atlantic cable of the most approved construction the cost may be taken at f250 to £300 per nautical mile.
The principal points of difference are that (I) the magnetic permeability, unlike the electric conductivity, which is independent of the strength of the current, is not in general constant; (2) there is no perfect insulator for magnetic induction, which will pass more or less freely through all known substances.
This harmonizes with the fact that the real seat of the energy 3f electrification is the dielectric or insulator surrounding the charged conductor.'
This guard wire prevents any current which leaks over the surface of the insulator from passing through the galvanometer G, and the galvanometer indication is therefore only determined by the amount of current which passes through the insulator, or by its insulation-resistance.
The object of the test is to discover the resistance of the insulator I, that is, to determine how much current flows through this insulator by leakage under a certain electromotive force or voltage which must not be less than that which will be employed in practice when the electric lights supplied through these wires are in operation.
If we call this last resistance R, the voltage of the working dynamo V, and the current through the insulator C, then tan 0 = C/V = R.
Clerk Maxwell demonstrated, however, that all electric charge or electrification of conductors consists simply in the establishment of a physical state in the surrounding insulator or dielectric, which state is variously called electric strain, electric displacement or electric polarization.
Hence the resistance of the insulator can be ascertained, since it is expressed in ohms by the ratio of the voltage of the battery in volts to the current through the C C galvanometer in amperes.
Maxwell never committed himself to a precise definition of the physical nature of electric displacement, but considered it as defining that which Faraday had called the polarization in the insulator, or, what is equivalent, the number of lines of electrostatic force passing normally through a unit of area in the dielectric. A second fundamental conception of Maxwell was that the electric displacement whilst it is changing is in effect an electric current, and creates, therefore, magnetic force.