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What compounds conduct electricity?

Last updated date: 24th Jul 2024
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Hint :Electricity is the motion of matter that possesses an electric charge i.e. either positive or negative. The conduction of electricity requires the flow of electrons or say in general, a flow of electric charges. Hence, the compounds that can provide ions or electrons to move freely will be able to conduct electricity.

Complete Step By Step Answer:
Electricity is a phenomenon associated with the presence and motion of the matter that possesses an electric charge i.e. either a positive charge or negative charge.
Conduction of electricity means the flow or movement of the electric charges inside a medium.
As the conduction of electricity requires the presence as well as the flow of charges, the compound that has free charges conduct electricity.
The most basic electric charges are the proton and electron. But, as the proton is bounded in the nucleus, the conduction of electricity is possible through electrons.
Hence, the compounds that have extra or lone electrons, and the electrons are free to move conduct electricity.
Due to this, even though most of the covalent compounds possess lone pair of electrons, they do not conduct electricity as the electrons are localized and cannot flow freely.
Whereas in ionic compounds, the constituents are present as positive and negative ions. But, in solid-state, the ions are held in a fixed position by an ionic bond. Hence, ionic compounds cannot conduct electricity in the solid-state.
However, if the compounds are heated and brought into liquid state, the ions become free to move, and hence ionic compounds will conduct electricity in molten state.
Also, if the ionic compounds are dissolved in electrolytic solutions like water, they get dissociated into ions which are free to move, and hence, they can conduct electricity.
Hence, all the ionic compounds, all acids and bases, based on whether they are strong or weak can conduct electricity in a solution.
Additional Information: In metals, due to low electronegativity, electrons do not remain bound to a single atom, but can move freely, in what is called an electron cloud. Hence, when a voltage is applied across two ends of a metal, the electrons will flow from negative end to the positive end, and conduct electricity. For example, copper, gold, silver, etc.

Note :
We know that polar covalent compounds can conduct electricity when dissolved in a solution due to the distribution of electric charges. However, the covalent compounds are formed by the sharing of electrons between two elements. As there is no loose or gain of electrons, there will be no charge developed in the elements, and hence, without electrical charge, covalent compounds cannot conduct electricity.