Why does Electricity Flow Through a Hydrogen Chloride-Water Solution when HCl Itself doesn’t?



I believe this is called ionization (not learning it in English). I would like to know why and how this process/reaction happens.

Edit: Why electric go through the solution and not through HCl. (Not why HCl doesn’t flow in water)

In: Chemistry

Are you asking why electricity doesn’t flow through HCl, or why HCl doesn’t flow through water?

If it’s the former, you’re right, it does have to do with ionization. HCl, as a pure substance, is a solid. It is an ionic compound, which produces a solid crystalline structure often called a salt (not table salt). This solid does not conduct electricity because there are no free floating electrons for the electricity to pass through (unlike solid metals) When you put it in water, the polarity of the water molecules break the ionic bonds of the structure and turn it into positive H cations and negative Cl anions. Because there are ions floating around in this new solution, electricity can pass from ion to ion and have a current.

HCl has ionic bonds. This type of bond is weak compared to a covalent bond. This weakness, as well as water’s polarity (at the atomic level) allows the hydrogen to disassociate from the chlorine atom. The loose hydrogen ions cluster around the oxygen of water molecules while the loose chlorine ions tend to cluster around hydrogen atoms of water molecules. While a water molecule is electrically neutral, it displays a negative charge around the oxygen atom because the two electrons from the hydrogen atom spend more time in its electron cloud than the hydrogen’s electron cloud. This, of course, means the hydrogen atoms of the water molecule present a positive charge.

Because of the loose association of the ionic atoms with water, these ions can be pushed around by electric potential which then gives an electric current.