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Why Do Ionic Compounds Conduct Electricity?

by maureen


Why Do Ionic Compounds Conduct Electricity?

Not all ionic compounds conduct electricity, but the majority of them do. One good example to prove this theory is during your chemistry lessons. Water is a good conductor of electricity but alone it doesn’t have the means to create that electrical charge. When you add salt to water, it then becomes a solution. The ionic compounds on the salt will dissolve in water and the result will give it an electrical charge. Ions that have this attribute are called electrolytes.

Solid ionic compounds are most likely positively charged (but not all). There are times when this ionic compound doesn’t dissolve in water and will not able to create any electric charge. Like water, solid ionic compounds cannot conduct electricity by themselves. The reason is because the positive and negative charges of the ions are kept in place and bonded together. This limits the movements of electrons which will make the compound in a state where it can’t conduct any electricity alone.

Dissolving solid ionic compounds is not only the case on which they can conduct electricity. They can conduct electricity if they are melted. Solid ions are held together in place and are crystallized. When heat or water breaks down this crystal structure, the atoms and molecules are able to move more freely. Since the atoms/molecules move more freely when they are in the liquid state, these movements can cause an electric charge.

The movement of free molecules is important in conducting electricity. Thus, an ionic compound that remains in its solid state will not be able to conduct an electric charge. The only way to bring out their ability to conduct electricity is through melting and dissolving in liquid. you can check the table of elements to see the different types of ionic compounds that can produce and conduct electricity.

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