How do electrolyte conductors conduct electricity

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Special case: water

The abnormally high conductivity values ​​for oxonium and hydroxide ions are not based on the size of the ions, but on a special conduction mechanism. The conduction takes place here not only through ion migration, but also through the shifting of binding electrons between - and - ions and the structurally closely related water molecules:

By shifting the binding electrons, the charge of the oxonium ion is transferred to another newly formed ion.

So there is also charge transport without simultaneous mass transport. An analogous mechanism can also be formulated for conduction by ions in aqueous solution. This mechanism only plays a role for aqueous electrolyte solutions; in other solvents the molar conductivities of and ions are comparable to those of alkali ions.

Molten salts also conduct electricity. The specific conductivities here are significantly higher than those of solutions because the concentration of charge carriers (molten salt without solvent) is very high.

Tab. 1
specific conductivity of some substances
T /κ []
Acetic acid 1 mol / l251,65·
1 mol / l250,1119
1 mol / l8000,3322
-Melt3186,6
-Melt1502,1
α-AgI (s) 1,3
 4,3·
 0,02
 50
 650
 625000
 100000
graphiteparallel to the layers30000
graphiteperpendicular to the layers5
Retort carbon(Graphite, statistically isotropic)200

Fixed ionic conductors are ionic compounds in which one type of ion is mobile in the fixed partial lattice of the other, for example, α-silver iodide conducts at higher temperatures via mobile ions, and some subgroup oxides via oxide ions.