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Difference Between Metallic Conductor and Electrolytic Conductor for JEE Main 2025

Last updated date: 24th Jul 2024
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Metallic Conductor and Electrolytic Conductor: Introduction

Depending on how electricity travels through each type of conductor, they can be divided into two categories. The charge carriers in a metallic conductor are electrons, and when an external electric field is present, they develop some average drift velocity in the direction perpendicular to the field.

Conductors are the materials that permit electricity to flow through them. A few examples of conductors include metals, bases, salts, and acid solutions. There are two different kinds of conductors: metallic conductor and electrolytic conductor.


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Difference Between Metallic Conductor and Electrolytic Conductor

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What is Metallic Conductor?

Metallic conductors are those conductors that move electrons along an electric current without moving any physical matter. Since electrons are the charge carrier in these conductors, they are also known as electronic conductance. The best conductors of electric current, for instance, are metals like copper, silver, platinum, and others.

  • As the temperature rises, this mode of conduction becomes less effective. This is clarified by The mobile electron cloud diffusing or penetrating a relatively fixed lattice of positive metal ions can be used to explain the electronic conduction. The electrons in the cloud are displaced at the entry point when electrons from an external battery are driven into one end of a metal wire. The displaced electrons acquire new locations by advancing nearby electrons.

  • The effect travels down the wire from one end to the other, returning to the external battery in the process. Electrons flow through the wire at a rate that is equal to the rate at which they leave it. At every point along its length, the wire's electrical neutrality is preserved.

  • Current flow in a metal is inhibited by the oscillation of metal ions around their lattice locations. These vibrations reduce the current flow by interfering with electron mobility. As the temperature rises, the thermal motions of the metal ions become more pronounced, adding to the current flow resistance. Metals consequently become less effective conductors as temperature increases.

What is Electrolytic Conductor ?

Metallic conductors are materials that permit electricity to flow through them devoid of undergoing any chemical transformation. In these, only the movement of electrons carries electricity. Consequently, they are also known as electronic conductors. Graphite, metals, and alloys are examples of metallic conductors.

  • Electrolytic conductors are substances that, in aqueous solution or the molten state, transport electric current by moving charged particles or ions. These also go by the name "ionic conductors." With an increase in temperature, the ionic conduction or electrolytic conduction increases.

  • Why do electrolytic conductors have lower conductivities than metallic ones? The reason why ions move more slowly than electrons is that they are heavier than electrons. Consequently, these conductors' rates of conduction vary.

Differentiate Between Metallic Conductor and Electrolytic Conductor:

S No.

Metallic Conductor

Electrolytic Conductor 


The electrons in the conduction band are the only ones capable of carrying current.

Both cations and anions carry the current.


The electrons move at a very high speed.

The speeds of ions are much slower than those of electrons.


No chemical reaction takes place during current flow; only a heating effect is created.

Chemical reactions are triggered by current flow, and heat is also produced.


The specific conductance of many metals is quite high, making them excellent electrical conductors.

They are fair conductors with a low specific conductance.


In general, the temperature coefficient is negative (alloys exhibit complex behavior).

Temperature coefficient remains positive.


Ohm's law is applied.

Ohm’s law is also applied in electrolytic conductor.


DC or AC current can be used to measure conductance.

AC sources are used to measure conductance; complex setups can only use DC current.


In this chapter, we learned about electrolytic conductance, its characteristics, the influences on electrolytic conductance, and the distinction between metallic and electrolytic conduction. We have discussed the definition, which states that an electrolytic solution's electrolytic conductance refers to their ability to permit the passage of an electric current through them. This capability is a result of the ions that are present in the solution as a result of the electrolyte separation. Therefore, during your preparation, do not skip this chapter if you want to pass your exam with good marks.

FAQs on Difference Between Metallic Conductor and Electrolytic Conductor for JEE Main 2025

1. What are the factors affecting Electrolytic Conductance?

Factors affecting Electrolytic Conductance

  • The Interionic attractions: The attractive interactions between the ions in the electrolyte solution are known as interionic attractions. 

  • The solvation of ions: The attractive interaction between the ions of the electrolyte and the solvent molecule is known as "solvation of ions." 

  • The viscosity of solvent: The attractive interaction between the solvent and the molecule determines the viscosity of the solvent. 

  • Temperature: The kinetic energy of the ions rises as the electrolyte's temperature rises. As a result, electrolytic solutions have greater electrical conductance.

2. How exactly do electrolytes conduct electricity?

  • Take a look at a container with two electrodes (the cathode and the anode) submerged in an electrolytic solution of two materials. Assume that A and B are the two electrolyte solutions. Additionally, the same material, which is in an electrolytic solution, makes up the two electrodes. The wire in which an electrical current could flow connects the two electrodes (cathode and anode). 

  • The potential difference is now produced when electricity is passed through the conducting wire. The positive free ions of substance A in the electrolyte move towards the negative ions of substance B when a potential difference is created, and they stick to electrode B. 

  • Similar to this, substance B's negative ions gravitate towards electrode A and become trapped there. The movement of positive and negative ions that results from this is what is known as electrolytic conduction. Here is a brief explanation of the mechanism behind electrolytic conduction. 

  • The following is how electrolytic conduction is expressed mathematically. 

G = 1/R = 1/. A/l

Where G = electrolytic conduction

R = resistance

            P = specific resistance 

            A = cross section area of electrodes

            l = distance between electrodes

3. Explain the types of electrolytic conductors?

Electrolytic conductors can be classified as follows:

Strong Electrolytic conductors

Weak Electrolytic conductors.

  • Strong Electrolytic conductors-

Strong acids and bases, such as hydrochloric acid, hydrogen nitrate, sulphur dioxide, potassium iodide, and others, would be considered strong electrolytic conductors. Most inorganic salts would also fall under this category. They are referred to as strong electrolytic conductors because they completely dissociate in both the aqueous state and the molten state. They can therefore conduct electricity very effectively.

  • Weak Electrolytic conductors-

However, weak electrolytic conductors are weak acids and bases that have very little dissociation, which limits the amount of electricity they can conduct. The term "non-electrolytes" or "non-Electrolytic conductors" refers to substances like sugar and urea that are completely incapable of conducting electricity.

4. Explain the mechanism of metallic conductor.

  • Metal atoms' valence electrons have unrestricted motion. As a result, metals have a substantial number of free electrons that randomly move from atom to atom in all directions. Free electrons are in thermal equilibrium with a metallic conductor and move randomly across the surface when no electric field is applied to the conductor. Electrons therefore move at zero speed on average in one direction. There is no current in the conductor because this motion does not result in a net charge transfer through any area of the conductor.

  • Each electron is impacted by electrostatic forces when an electric field is applied by connecting a battery to a conductor, and the electrons are accelerated in the opposite direction of the electric field. Thus, the electrons accelerate and acquire kinetic energy. But at the metal's lattice sites, these electrons run into atoms (or ions). When two particles collide, the electrons give up some of their energy to the atoms, slowing them down. The electricity, on the other hand, accelerates the electrons once more as they strike the atoms. The electrons acquire a constant average velocity in the opposite direction of the electric field as a result of these collisions, which bring down their average acceleration to zero. The conductor's current is moved through it at this speed, which is known as the drift speed.

  • The chaotic movement of electrons in a metal crystal without an electric field. Drift velocity is the term used to describe the average speed at which free electrons in a conductor move when they are subject to the influence of an electric field.

5. What are the major difference between metallic conductor and electrolytic conductor ?

Electrons move around a metal as a result of metallic conductance. Ions move around a pure liquid or solution through electrolytic conduction.