Factors Affecting Electrolytic Conductance

The term electrolytic conductance is formed by connecting two important terms “electrolyte” and “conduction” or conductors”. It is important to first understand the meaning of these respective words. The electrolyte can be defined as a substance, which when dissolved in a polar solvent such as water produces electricity. These electrolytes can only conduct electricity in the aqueous or molten form, and not in the solid-state.  The process of dissolution of these substances in the solvent within the passage of an electric current is known as electrolysis. The second most important term for the electrolytic conductance is known as “conductance” or “conductor”. 

Working Procedure of Electrolytic Conductance

Electrolyte conductance is the process of conductance that takes place along with the presence of an electrolyte. The electricity is transferred from cations and anions in the electrolytic solution. In quantitative terms, the electrolytic conductance is characterized by equivalent conductance and is represented by the symbol “Λ”.

Λ = 1000 χ/c; where

Χ - specific conductance of the solution with the S.I unit ohm-1cm-1,

C - the concentration of the solution in grams equivalents per liter.

Furthermore, the maximum value of the equivalent conductance “Λ” represents that the solution has reached infinite dilution, which implies that all molecules in the electrolyte have dissociated into ions causing conductance in anions and cations. 

Moreover, there are strong electrolytic conductors and weak electrolytic conductors. A strong electrolytic conductor is the one that completely dissociates. They usually consist of strong acids and strong bases. For instance, hydrochloric acid, potassium iodide, Sulphur dioxide, and also some inorganic salts are strong electrolytic conductors as they dissociate completely in aqueous or molten states. 

Likewise, a weak electrolytic conductor is the one that dissociates partially or little because of which they are able to conduct electricity to a small extent. As opposed to the strong electrolytic conductor, weak electrolytic conductor comprises of weak acids and weak bases. 

Some common electrolytes are calcium, sodium, potassium, magnesium, and chloride. Some common examples of a conductor are copper, aluminum, silver, and gold. 

Factors Affecting Electrolytic Conductance

There are several factors that can negatively as well as positively affect electrolytic conductance. Some of these factors are mentioned below:

  1. The first factor that majorly affects electrolytic conductance is the concentration of ions. This is the most important factor as conductance is merely a transference of ions which leads to the production of electricity. The relationship of electrolytic conduction with the concentration of ions is inversely proportional. This being said, it means, the higher the concentration of ions the less will be the conduction.

  1. The second factor affecting electrolytic conductance is the nature of the electrolyte. As we know there are strong electrolytes, weak electrolytes, and nonelectrolytes. These different electrolytes have a different composition which can affect the overall electrolytic conductance. For instance, strong electrolytes ionize completely in the solution while a weak electrolyte does not. An example of a strong electrolyte is KNO3 as it has a high concentration of ions and therefore higher dissociation. An example of a weak electrolyte is CH3COOH which has a lesser number of ions and therefore lesser dissociation.

  1. The third factor which affects electrolytic conductance is temperature. The temperature at which the electrolyte gets dissolved in the solutions plays a very important role. The higher temperature is considered more suitable for this process as it improves the solubility of the electrolyte, which thereby increases the concentration of ions and electrolytic conduction. 

  1. Another, fourth, factor that affects electrolytic conductance is the size of the ion. There is an inverse relationship observed, which means the larger the size of ion the lesser the conductance.

  1. The fifth factor that affects electrolytic conductance is the nature of the solvent. In the case where the nature of the solvent has greater polarity then there is the presence of higher conductance.

  1. The next factor that affects electrolytic conductance is the viscosity of the solvent. An inversely proportional relationship has been observed for viscosity and electrolytic conduction. When the viscosity of the solvent is high then the conductance is affected as it gets reduced.

The study of electrolytic conduction is essential in developing foundation knowledge on more advanced topics such as electricity, batteries, or other electrical devices. Lastly, remember that any solution that enhances the movement of free-moving ions can be defined as electrolytic conductance. Different properties of this process can help in improving the level of dissociation of ions which improves the overall electrolytic conductance.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1.What are the common properties of an electrolyte?

As you know an electrolyte is defined as a substance, which when dissolved in a polar solvent such as water produces electricity.  

Some important properties of electrolytes are mentioned below:

  • In the case of strong electrolytes, complete ionization happens when ions get dissolved in the solution.

  • Weak electrolytes dissociate or ionize very little.

  • In the case of nonelectrolyte, it’s molecules do not dissociate at all to form ions.

  • When an electrolyte is dissolved in water then it gets separated as ions.

  • In an electrolyte solution containing multi charged ions, such as, Fe2+, Mg2+, SO42-and PO42- ,the tendency of forming ion pairs is much higher than the other solutions.

2. What are some common properties of a conductor?

Some of the common properties of a conductor are as mentioned below:

  • A good conductor has a very low resistivity. Moreover, it has a low-temperature or coefficient of resistivity. 

  • Conductors can be metals as well as non-metals respectively.

  • Silver as a metal is considered to be the best conductor amongst all metals.

  • Graphite is an example of a non-metal which is also a conductor.

  • Other popular elements that can make good conductors are copper, gold, magnesium, beryllium, calcium, magnesium, rhodium, sodium, and iridium.

  • A conductor holds conductivity in order of 106 - 108 ohm-1.

  • All conductors possess electrical charges.