Q:

Which solids and liquids conduct electricity?

A:

Quick Answer

Solids and liquids that conduct electricity include metals and water. These materials are called conductors because they allow electrical current to flow through them.

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Which solids and liquids conduct electricity?
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Full Answer

Materials can be defined by their electrical conductivity. Materials which do not conduct any electrical current at all are called insulators. There is no such thing as a perfect insulator, but materials which resist current the most strongly include glass, paper, ceramics, most plastics and generally most non-metals. Materials which can conduct some current, but don’t do it very well, are called semiconductors. These include silicon and germanium, and are used frequently in electronics.

Materials which conduct current well are called conductors. Solid conductors include most metals, such as copper. This is why electrical wiring is made of metal, with plastic coating on the outside; the electrical current flows down the metal wire but is insulated by the plastic coating. Gold and silver are also very good conductors.

For a liquid to conduct electricity, it must contain a high concentration of ions. Distilled water is a relatively poor conductor because it has very few ions. Adding ionic solids (such as table salt) to a liquid will increase its conductivity. Tap water is generally a very good conductor because it has plenty of ions. So is lake water, which is why it is dangerous to swim during a lightning storm. Water which contains an acid or a base also makes a good conductor, because when an acid or a base is dissolved in water it breaks down into ions. Sulfuric or hydrochloric acid dissolved in water make good conductors. Vinegar is generally too weak an acid to have the same effect.

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Related Questions

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    Does pure water conduct electricity?

    A:

    Pure water does not conduct electricity. It is an insulator that has a high resistance and a low conductivity. Electrical current does not move through water easily.

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    Does sulphur conduct electricity?

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    What materials conduct electricity?

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    The most common materials that are good conductors of electricity are metals, but other materials, such as carbon, can also conduct electricity in certain forms. When carbon atoms are arranged in a certain structure like graphene, they can conduct electricity well, but are poor conductors in materials like diamond.

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