Most of us are familiar that wires and metals conduct electricity. However, did you know that water too can help electricity travel? But not every water conducts electricity and the rate of electricity conduction is also different. Wondering how? Let us explain...
Everyday Chemistry - Does Distilled Water Conduct Electricity?
Did you know that water helps electricity travel? Studies have shown that water and electricity can be a dangerous combination for us because water is a good conductor of electricity. But does distilled water conduct electricity too? Let's find out...
What is Distilled Water?
Plain water contains dissolved minerals like calcium, magnesium, iron and sodium. When water is boiled and the steam is allowed to condense in a reservoir, the pure liquid that remains, devoid of minerals, is called distilled water.
What is Electricity?
Understanding how electricity travels will help answer the question "Does distilled water conduct electricity?". But first, we need to start with understanding 'atoms'. When an atom has more protons than electrons, it has a positive charge. When the atom has more electrons than protons, it has a negative charge. Atoms prefer to have a neutral charge and will swap electrons to become neutral. As electrons are passed from one atom to another, a flow of electricity is created.
So to answer the question...
Since distilled water is purified and does not contain any impurities, it is unable to conduct electricity. Water molecules on their own have no charge and as a result they cannot swap electrons. Without the swapping of electrons, electricity is unable to travel through distilled water.
Salt water, on the other hand, is considered a good conductor of electricity because it contains ions in it. Tap water, although it doesn't taste salty, can also conduct electricity because it isn't pure. The water from the kitchen sink often has traces of minerals such as calcium, Ca2+, and magnesium, Mg2+ and can help conduct electricity. However, what needs to be noted here is that not all water is the same nor will it conduct electricity at the same rate.
So the next time, you handle distilled water, you can be assured that it will not conduct electricity and you are handling safe water.