Specification Point 1.55C (Paper 2 C Only):
Understand why covalent compounds do not conduct electricity

Covalent Compounds

Covalent Compound: Compound with bonds between non-metal and non-metal formed by the shared pair of electrons between the two atoms.

Electrical Conductivity of Covalent Compounds:

  • Covalent Compounds do not conduct electricity as they do not have delocalised electrons that are free to move to conduct an electric charge. Electric current is the flow of electrons.

Example: Water ( H2O )

Dot & cross water, CIE IGCSE Chemistry

Water does not conduct electricity as all valence electrons are used in forming covalent bonds, so there are no delocalised electrons that are free to move to conduct an electric charge

Specification Point 1.56C (Paper 2 C Only):
Understand why ionic compounds conduct electricity only when molten or in aqueous solution

Ionic Compounds

Ionic Compounds: Formed when atoms of metals transfer electrons to atoms of non – metals to form compounds made up of ions.

Ionic compounds electrical conductivity, Edexcel IGCSE Chemistry

Particles of ionic compounds in solids and when molten or in solution form

Electrical Conductivity of Ionic Compounds:

  • Ionic Compounds cannot conduct electricity when solid as ions are fixed in structure and are not free to move.
  • However, Ionic compounds can conduct electricity when molten or in Aqueous solution as their ions are free to move to conduct an electric charge.

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Author: Jamie

Jamie got a First class degree in Chemistry from Oxford University before going on to teach chemistry full time as a professional tutor. He’s put together these handy revision notes to match the Edexcel IGCSE Chemistry specification so you can learn exactly what you need to know for your exams.