When creating a coil for a Crystal Radio, why do I have to have insulated windings? Why does it matter if the individual turns touch each other?
When it "shorts out" in this context, what does that mean, as in where did the charge go?
If you use insulated wire, the current is forced to go all the way around each loop, and this helps add to the magnetic field that is crucial for the operation of an inductor. More turns = more field and more inductance.
If you use bare wire, the current will take the least resistance path, which would be the shortest path from one end to the other, and there will be virtually no magnetic field at all.
Yes it matters if the wires are insulated.
Using regular insulated wire rather than enamel will result in a much larger coil.
If the individual turns touch each other then the current can flow along the length of the coil rather than going around all the loops. This will change the inductance of the coil so it won't tune to the frequencies you want.