What compounds conduct electricity?

1 Answer

Materials conduct electricity if one of two things happens:

  • If electrons can move around freely (as in the delocalized bonds of metals), then electricity can be conducted.

  • If ions can move around freely, electricity can be conducted.

1) Solid ionic compounds don't conduct electricity. Although ions are present, they can't move because they're locked in place.

2) Solutions of ionic compounds and molten ionic compounds can conduct electricity because the ions are free to move around.

When an ionic compound dissolves in solution, the ions of the molecule dissociate. For instance, sodium chloride #NaCl# dissociates into one #Na^+# and one #Cl^-# ions, #CaF_2# would dissociate into one #Ca^+2# and two #F^-# ions.

These ions are electrochemically charged in solution and can conduct electricity, making them electrolytes.

3) Metals conduct electricity because the delocalized bonding allows the electrons to move from one place to another.

4) Acids and bases also conduct electricity in solution. Strong acids because they ionize completely are strong electrolytes whereas weak acids and bases are weak electrolytes.

I hope this was helpful.