Do Acids Conduct Electricity? 11 Facts You Should Know

Acids are in a liquid state, and liquids are considered not good conductors of electricity. Let us discuss whether acids are good conductors or bad conductors of electricity.

Acids conduct electricity because acids dissociate most of the hydrogen ions in water, thus increasing the conductivity of water. These hydrogen ions are cation that carries a positive charge. These charges flow through the conductor and generate electrical energy when it forms a closed loop using electrodes.

Acids are not essentially good conductors of electricity than that obtained by using metals. We shall discuss in detail the electric conductivity of acids in an aqueous form, whether they are a good or bad conductor, and whether acids can be used to produce electricity or not with detailed facts.

Are acids good or bad conductors?

Good conductors allow electricity to flow through them, and bad conductors do not allow charge flow. Let us see whether acids are good or bad conductors.

Acids are good conductors only when the density of hydrogen ions dissociated in water is high, and these ions can easily drift to conduct the electric charge flow to produce current. Thus, acids are good conductors only in an aqueous form, as the ions are free to move in a liquid.

When does acid conduct electricity?

Matter conducts electricity if there is charge availability, and the charges are free to migrate. Let us elaborately discuss when acid conduct electricity.

Acid conducts electricity only when it is dissolved in water. The acid does not conduct electricity in its pure form as the cation and anion are bonded to form chemical compounds. These bonds break upon mixing in water and produce hydrogen, hydronium, and hydroxide ions responsible for electrical conduction.

How does acid conduct electricity?

The presence of ions or charges does not mean electricity production. Let us understand how acid conducts electricity in detail.

The acid conducts electricity due to the ions’ mobility. Dissolving acid in an aqueous solution segregates cations and anions in water. The separated ions/charges are loosely bonded and are free to move across the volume of solution as their mobility increases, and the conduction of electricity becomes easy.

Why does an aqueous solution of acid conduct electricity?

The acid conducts electricity only in the aqueous solution. Let us ponder the reason behind the electrical energy conduction only in the aqueous solution.

An aqueous solution of acid conducts electricity because it contains hydrogen ions upon adding acid. These ions are free to move and conduct the charge flow in a solution to generate electricity. In an aqueous solution, the cation and ions of acid react with a water molecule, producing most hydrogen and hydronium ions.

Example of bases that conduct electricity

Like acids, bases also conduct electricity by dissociating ions when mixed in an aqueous solution. Let us list some examples of bases that can conduct electricity.

  • Aluminum Hydroxide Al(OH)3
  • Barium Hydroxide Ba(OH)2
  • Zinc Hydroxide Zn(OH)2
  • Sodium Hydroxide Na(OH)2
  • Rubidium Hydroxide Ru(OH)2
  • Ferrous Hydroxide Fe(OH)2
  • Copper Hydroxide Cu(OH)2

The bases have the majority of hydroxide ions having a negative charge. These ions are essential to produce electrical energy through bases. The mobility of hydroxide ions conducts the flow of electric current to produce electricity.

Do weak acids conduct electricity?

The concentration of ions in weak acids is very low compared to strong acids. Let us discuss whether weak acid can also conduct electricity or not.

Weak acids conduct electricity, but the electric energy is very weak. The weak acids dissociate less number of hydronium ions in water as these are partially ionized in water, and hence the conduction of electric current is less as few ions flow through the aqueous solution. Thus, the electricity generated is weak.

Which acid is the best conductor of electricity?

The conductor dissociating more ions/charges will conduct a more powerful flow of electricity. Let us talk about the acids that are the best conductor of electricity.

The strongest acids are the best conductor of electricity, and sulphuric and hydrochloric acids are the strongest. Sulphuric acid dissociates into the water to produce hydronium ions and anions as bisulfate ions. Hydrochloric acid gives chloride ions along with hydronium ions. Sulphuric acid gets more ionized in water.

Sulphuric Acid Image by NEUROtiker (CC0 1.0) from Wikimedia Commons

Which acid is poor conductor of electricity?

Some acids are poor conductors and produce weak electrical energy upon mixing with the aqueous solution. Let us ponder on acids which are poor conductors of electricity.

Acetic acid is a poor conductor of electricity because it is a weak acid that dissociates very few ions in an aqueous solution. It gives an acetate anion (CH3CO)2- and hydronium cation H3O+. Acetic acid is not completely ionized in water and hence is the poorest conductor of electricity.

Can acids produce electricity?

The liquids conduct electricity due to the motion of charges and not in the absence of charge. Let us discuss whether acids produce electricity or not.

The acids can produce electricity because they comprise cations and anions that dissociate into the solution and are ionized to conduct electricity. These charges migrate towards the opposite charge electrode when connected to the electric source. The electrons flow across the conductor to generate electricity.


We can conclude from this article that acids are good conductors of electricity. Acid conducts electricity only in the aqueous form and not in its pure form. Strong acids generate more hydrogen ions and conduct more electrical energy than weak acids.

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