Learn more physics!
Why doesn't ice conduct electricity as well as water?
- Adam (age 15)
That's a great question. Since they are made of the same substance it makes one curious. The explanation is pretty basic. Electrical conduction requires the flow of charged particles. In water, these charge carriers are ions, some from dissolved salt and a few from water molecules that fall apart. When the water freezes those particles are either shoved out of the ice crystal or almost locked into place, much less able to move freely.
Hope that answers your question,
p.s. In ice the ions (mainly H+, the ion that moves most easily ) move round in a very interesting way. They rarely get enough energy to hop from one place to another. They actually tunnel quantum mechanically, a process which can't be pictured classically. Mike W.
(published on 05/18/11)
Follow-Up #1: ice conducts electricity
is ice conducting electricity ?
- M.Niranjan (age 16)
Yes, but it's a poor conductor. The H+ ions don't tunnel around very quickly.
(published on 05/23/13)
Follow-up on this answer.