How Electricity Conducts Through Liquids

Written by Angela

Reach out to Dreiym Engineering for any Corrosion, Electrical or Forensic Questions.

February 1, 2021

How Electricity Conducts Through Liquids

Electricity and liquids are deadly combination that people avoid. The process of an electric current passing through a liquid is called electrolysis. Learn more about how electricity conducts through liquids with this brief guide.

Conducting Liquids

Certain liquids are conductive and allow the electricity to pass through. Liquids that allow electricity to conduct through them are called electrolytes. There are two different types of electrolytes.

Strong Electrolytes

Strong electrolytes conduct electricity easily and effectively. They often contain a lot of ions, which makes a liquid conductive.

Weak Electrolytes

Weak electrolytes are liquids that can conduct electricity, but less than a strong electrolyte can. These liquids have ions, but less ions than strong electrolytes.

Water

Water can be conductive but isn’t always. Distilled water contains no ions and is not conductive. Pure water contains very few ions, so it’s a poor electricity conductor. Tap water often contains salt or other impurities which add ions to the water, making it conductive.

This is why it’s unsafe to touch plugs or outlets with hands wet from tap water. The electricity will move through the liquid and can electrocute the person.

Non-Conducting Liquids

Liquids that are non-conducting don’t allow electricity to flow through them. These liquids have little to no ions in them. Electricity conducts through liquids via ions, and without them it cannot move through the liquid.

The conductivity of liquids can vary, and they become more conductive the more ions there are. Electrolysis is a process done intentionally to help coat metals, such as silver plating, with another substance. It’s also used to extract or purify some metals—such as refining copper by electrolysis, extracting aluminum.

For more information on the dangers of electricity passing through liquids or for professional electrical consultancy services contact Dreiym Engineering today.

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