View Full Version : Better conductor? (acid/alkaline)
11-02-2002, 04:56 AM
Given two equal masses of water, one with x concentration of H3O+ ions, and the other with x concentration of OH- ions, which would be the better conductor? I suspect the answer is bleeding obvious, but I can't think for the life of me what it is.
Duck Duck Goose
11-02-2002, 05:36 PM
The bleeding obvious answer that leaps out at me is that car batteries are acid, not alkaline.
Is there money riding on this? Kind of a peculiar bar bet...
11-02-2002, 06:03 PM
Unless you have some peculiar (e.g. immobile) counterions, the acidic and basic solutions will be equally conductive. Conductivity depends on the concentration of charge carriers available in solution, not the identity of those ions. In your H3O+, OH- example, you need to factor in the presence of the counterions needed to maintain electrical neutrality in the solution; HCl vs NaOH. When the H3O and OH concentrations are equal, the counterion concentrations (Cl- and Na+) will also be equal.
This being chemistry, there are of course all sorts of tricky ways to render the explanation I just gave inadequate, but it's a good first approximation.
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