Electrolytic solutions are good liquid conductors of electricity because the solute, an electrolyte, is a substance that easily disassociates into its component ions when it is in an aqueous solution. Electrolyte substances can be grouped into three generalized classes: strong acids, strong bases and soluble salts. An aqueous solution of hydrochloric acid is an example of an electrolytic solution that is an excellent liquid conductor of electricity.Continue Reading
Electrolytes can also be grouped into strong and weak categories. Strong electrolytes will disassociate completely into their component ions when in an aqueous solution. Weak electrolytes do not disassociate completely, and as a result, their aqueous solutions do not conduct electricity well. Almost all of the inorganic salts, such as sodium chloride, are strong electrolytes. The strong bases also disassociate completely in water and produce hydroxide ions. Weak acids, such as acetic acid and citric acid, do not disassociate completely in water, and their solutions are not good conductors. Similarly, the weak bases do not create solutions well-suited to conducting electricity.
In addition to the industrial uses of electrolytic solutions, electrolytes play a vital role in the higher life forms by helping to regulate the osmotic differences between cellular interiors and the extracellular environment. Nerves and muscles also function by their reactions to electrolytic activity, and insufficient amounts of electrolytes within the human body can result in weakness or cause muscle contractions. In cases of extreme electrolyte deficiencies, such as the result of dehydration, neurological complications could occur, and possibly become a pressing health issue.Learn more about Electricity
In general, metals like copper and aluminum are the best conductors of electricity. Good conductors are able to allow electrons to easily flow through.Full Answer >
Although metals are supposed to be good conductors of electricity and heat, metals like mercury, lead, alloys of iron and chromium, titanium and stainless steel are poor conductors when compared to silver, copper and gold. For example, stainless steel 310 has an electrical conductivity of 1.28 x 10E6 siemens/m, while mercury's electrical conductivity is 1.1 x 10E6 siemens/m. However, silver, which has the highest electrical conductivity of all metals, has a n electrical conductivity of 62.1 x 10E6.Full Answer >
Metals are good conductors of electricity, because they have free electrons. These free electrons act as charge carriers in the metallic structure, allowing electric current to flow through the metal.Full Answer >
The absence of free electrons in their structures is what generally makes ionic solids poor conductors of electricity. Although ions are electrically conductive when they are unbound, ionic solids exist in crystalline form, with each ion in a relatively fixed position surrounded by ions of the opposite charge.Full Answer >