The conductivity of a solution is a measure of its ability to conduct electricity, sound, and transmit heat. The units of conductivity of water are Siemens per meter in SI and milliohms per centimetre in CGS. The symbol of conductivity of water is k or s. Pure water is not a great conductor of electricity rather it acts as an insulator. The conductivity of water enhances if its ion concentration increases. Distilled water in equilibrium with carbon dioxide in the air can conduct electricity. The electrical conductivity of water is a measure of the ionic activity of a solution that can transmit current.
The Conductivity of Salt Water
Saltwater is a great conductor of electricity and its conductivity is greater than normal water. In saltwater, salt molecules are generally made of sodium and chlorine ions. Due to this, the conductivity of salt water is greater than the conductivity of normal water. We know an ion is an atom that has some electrical charge because either the ion has lost or gained an electron.
So in saltwater, there are sodium and chloride ions that have an electrical charge. Now if we put salt in water the water molecules pull apart the sodium and chlorine ions and they are freely floating in the water. So these ions are mainly carrying the current in saltwater. As saltwater is a good conductor of electricity it makes ocean water a huge resource for renewable energy.
Importance of Conductivity of Water in Industrial Applications
The conductivity of water is very important in industrial applications such as cooling towers and boilers. The conductivity of water can actually give the idea of how much chemicals, minerals and dissolved substances are present in the water and this is the reason conductivity of water is important in industrial applications. If the number of chemicals, minerals and dissolved substances are high then there is a chance to have a high conductivity of water. In the case of wastewater treatment if the conductivity of water changes that indicates the water has become polluted. In industrial language, they call it sewage leak. There is also other importance of conductivity of water in industrial applications.
The electrical conductivity of water is very much essential for many industries. As fish can tolerate a certain range of electrical conductivity of water so the electrical conductivity of water is very much essential for the fisheries industry. The electrical conductivity of water is also beneficial for boiler protection, measuring chemical concentration, environmental monitoring, reverse osmosis monitoring etc. Ion chromatography also uses the conductivity of water.
pH and Electrical Conductivity of Water
In industrial applications water is mainly in use to remove the biological impurities, chemicals, minerals, abnormal pH value. pH is the measurement of the acidity of water or soil. pH value is highly based on the hydrogen ion concentration. If the number of hydrogen ions presents more it makes the substance more alkaline and it also increases the level of negatively charged ions which make it more acidic. Electrical conductivity does not depend on the sign of the charge. Be it negative or positive if the number of charges presents more in the solution electrical conductivity will be higher. So if the solution is more acidic or basic the electrical conductivity of the solution will be higher. Hence strongly acidic or basic materials have higher electrical conductivity.
Materials which have close to neutral pH have less electrical conductivity. pH and electrical conductivity have various applications in many areas. In aquariums, we can easily check the salinity of water by using a pH meter or electrical conductivity meter. The electrical conductivity of water is also useful for agriculture. We can measure the salinity of soil and also the dissolved minerals in water which can give us the idea if any fertilizer is required or not.
FAQs about Sound Reflection
Q.1 Why high conductivity of water is harmful to humans?
Answer: If the conductivity of water is high then the presence of dissolved substances are very high. The high amount of salts and heavy metals is harmful to aquatic life and to humans also. This is the reason high conductivity of water is harmful to humans.
Q.2: Write the factors that affect the conductivity of water.
Answer: The factors that affect the conductivity of water are- the type of substances, concentration of ions and temperature. These are the factors that affect the conductivity of water.