Do Covalent Compounds Conduct Electricity? 7 Facts


Covalent compounds share one or more pairs of valence electrons of one atom with another through covalent bond. Let us discuss current conduction is possible or not by the covalent compounds.

Covalent compounds are not capable of conducting electricity. Dearth of mobile electrons or charge carriers in the covalent compounds is the reason behind it. Mobile charge carriers are used to carry electric current but in covalent compounds there are no ions or electrons present that can carry electricity.

Let us focus on why covalent compounds are unable to carry current, whether polar covalent compounds conduct electricity when dissolved in water and many more in this article.

Why do covalent compounds not conduct electricity?

Covalent compounds do have completely opposite properties of ionic compounds. Let us have a look at the reason for not conducting electricity of the covalent compounds.

Covalent compounds do not conduct electricity because they don’t have delocalised electrons or radicals in them. In the covalent compounds valence electrons of one atom are shared by another atom generating electron pairs. The electrons remain immobile and bound within the covalent bonds.

The immobile nature of electrons does not allow them to pass electricity as electric current is carried only by the movable valence electrons. Other than this ions or radicals also carry current but they are also absent in the covalent compounds.

Do polar covalent compounds conduct electricity when dissolved in water?

Polar covalent compounds share e⁻s of a covalent bond unequally due to their difference in electronegativities. Let us look at these compounds when dissolved in water.

Polar covalent compounds conduct electricity when dissolved in water in some cases. If polar covalent compounds form positive and negative radicals when dissolved in water then only current is conducted by them. These radicals flow in a definite direction and this flow is considered an electric current.

NH3 and H2CO3 when dissolved in water they form NH4+ and OH- and H3O+ and HCO3- respectively. These positive and negative radicals are used to carry electricity.

Do polar covalent compounds conduct electricity?

Polar covalent compounds remain as solids at room temperature due to the strong intermolecular force of attraction. Let us focus on whether they conduct electricity or not.

Polar covalent compounds do not conduct electricity when they are at solid state. This is because in the solid form or the purest form of polar compounds there is no movement of free electrons. The absence of movement of free electrons in a particular direction can not conduct electricity.

In the solid phase a polar compound can not be ionized. Hence there is a lack of ions that produce current.

When do polar covalent compounds conduct electricity?

Polar covalent compounds are usually bad conductors of electricity but they carry current sometimes. Let us discuss cases when polar covalent compounds conduct current.

Polar covalent compounds conduct electricity when they are at molten state or when they are dissolved in any polar solvent. The molten state or the state of getting dissolved in polar solvents help them produce movable charge carriers that can carry current.

How do polar covalent compounds conduct electricity when dissolved in water?

Polar covalent compounds are used to get ionized when dissolved in water. Let us go through the process.

  • Polar covalent compounds that possess basic nature are usually divided into a positive radical part and a negative radical part(OH-) while being dissolved in water.
  • Then these two types of radicals flow in a definite direction being connected to a battery. This flow is considered as current.
  • Polar covalent compounds that are acidic in nature are separated into H3O+(positive radical) and a negative radical part. These two parts in turn move in a fixed direction being attached to a source of voltage and produce current.

Conclusion

Polar covalent compounds can or can not conduct electricity is the main priority of this article. If they can conduct electricity then what are the specific conditions responsible for that all these concepts have been clarified in a brief manner.

Ankita Biswas

Hi...I am Ankita Biswas. I have done my B.Sc in physics Honours and my M.Sc in Electronics. Currently, I am working as a Physics teacher in a Higher Secondary School. I am very enthusiastic about the high-energy physics field. I love to write complicated physics concepts in understandable and simple words. Let's connect through LinkedIn:https://www.linkedin.com/in/ankita-biswas-b95785230

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