Do ionic compounds use ions to conduct? Or do they use electrons?

Also why don't they conduct in solid form and only in liquid or gaseous forms? I mean electrons can still travel in solid forms.

Do their ionic bonds break in the liquid and gaseous forms?

Thanks for answering

  • $\begingroup$ I am assuming you mean electricity, not heat. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 17, 2016 at 23:45
  • $\begingroup$ yes electricity $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 18, 2016 at 6:05

2 Answers 2


Ionic solids do not conduct because the atoms are typically bound too tightly to a crystal lattice for anything to function as mobile charge carriers. Mobile charge carriers are available in metal because metals can easily change oxidation states allowing electrons to move; whereas, most ions cannot easily change state.

Ionic liquids on the other hand have both mobile cations and anions which can serve as charge carriers possibly resulting in moderate conductivity.

As far as bonding the bonds in ionic liquids are constantly breaking and reforming just as in all liquids.

There are no bonds between gas particles. Gasses are poor conductors; however, if the gas ionizes turning into plasma then the electrons are free to be charge carriers making the gas a conductor.

  • $\begingroup$ but why are gases poor conductors?? And do ionic compounds conduct through electrons or the ions? $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 17, 2016 at 5:53
  • $\begingroup$ Ionic compounds are either an ionic solid or an ionic liquid. Ionic solids do not conduct. Ionic liquids can through movement of ions. Ionized plasma can conduct through movement of electrons. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 17, 2016 at 23:50
  • $\begingroup$ Why are gasses poor conductors of electricity is a different question entirely. Since it is already on the physics exchange. physics.stackexchange.com/questions/38631/… $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 17, 2016 at 23:54
  • $\begingroup$ Also. to be an electrical conductor means something with charge is free to move. If no charge can move then electricity cannot conduct itself through a medium. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 17, 2016 at 23:55
  • $\begingroup$ but if gases are ionized...can't they just conduct through ions?? What is the need of conduction through electrons? $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 18, 2016 at 6:25

First of all ionic compounds are not bounded by bonds they are bound by electrostatic forces of attraction. Secondly if the ionic compound is an electrolyte which generally is, the ions separate. The ions require a medium to polarise them in short to separate them liquid and gaseous mediums thus help as they cant self ionise in their solid state. Hope it helps.

  • $\begingroup$ I wasnt the downvote, but I do believe that it was because you said the medium polarises the molecule... which is not true it just dissolves it $\endgroup$
    – phi2k
    Commented Sep 16, 2016 at 19:41
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Would solvates be the correct word then? $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 16, 2016 at 19:52

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