In short, copper conducts electricity 100 million times better than sea water. While high-voltage electric lines should be handled with care when in contact with water, water cannot be used as an electric wire.
The best analogy I've heard is that electricity behaves like a fluid. Like any other fluid, it can be sent through conductors. These conductors must be flexible and strong, but not made of rubber or plastic because they will break down over time due to the electrical stress. Copper is the most effective conductor there is, followed by silver, then gold. Silicon does not conduct electricity, so it would not work for wiring.
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Electricity cannot be conducted by pure water. Because it lacks salt, it is a poor conductor of electricity. We can add salt to clean water to make it conduct. Salt contains ions that help wires connect to each other when they are immersed in liquid electrolytes.
When electric circuits need to be isolated from moisture, electrical tape is used instead. The copper on the circuit board reacts with oxygen and moisture in the air to form a thin layer of green oxide. This layer prevents current from flowing through the circuit board.
For outdoor use in areas where there is precipitation exposure, electrical tape is replaced with De-Icer (DIY). DIcer is an insulated coating that prevents water from reaching the metal parts of the circuit board.
Pure water that does not contain any dissolved salts or acids is called "distilled water." Distilling water removes all the dissolved substances, leaving just H2O. The process of removing the solutes from water is called "desalination."
Distilled water is suitable for most applications where water is required in its natural state. It can be used in laboratories as an alternative to commercial distilled water because the chemicals used to distil it away are toxic if ingested.
Water is an excellent conductor of electricity, however distilled water is a poor conductor of electricity due to the absence of salt and minerals. Water is a good conductor of heat as well.
This means that water is able to conduct electricity and heat easily which can be a benefit when you need to make a circuit quickly or keep something warm/cool. However, if you are using anything with voltage potential in contact with water then it is important to know how it will be affected by this property of water.
For example, if you have a radio sitting on top of a kitchen tap then any moisture from the tap could short out the radio's circuitry.
Even if you use insulating cups for your coffee, tea, or soup then they too would be affected by the high conductivity of water. The heat from your cup of coffee might be sufficient to cause water to boil which would then be transported via the handle into the radio's mechanism causing damage to it.
Therefore, if you want to protect your belongings from being damaged by water then it is important to know how they react to water.
Electricity has the ability to cause significant injury or death. Because water conducts electricity, there is a heightened danger of serious injury or death from an electric shock when improper electrical equipment is used or put near water. Not only may electricity flow through a pool of water, but it can also flow over wet surfaces. This is especially true if you are working on a circuit board- electronic components are likely to be damaged by electricity.
The most common type of electrical hazard with tools is "electrical shocks". These can happen anytime electricity passes through a person or object. A tool that has been handled by someone who has been electrically shocked will have the potential to pass this harmful energy on to someone else. The more areas of the body that conduct electricity, such as metal parts inside power tools or at work sites where electricity is generated or transmitted, the greater the risk of being injured by electrical shock. Risk factors for being injured by electrical shock include working at heights, operating machinery, trying to rescue someone else who has been injured, and conducting experiments.
Other hazards associated with tools that use electricity include fire from friction or hot metals, explosions from static charge, and damage to electronics from high voltage connections. All types of tools can be dangerous if not used properly; however, tools that use electricity are especially risky. It is important to understand the nature of these risks before working on projects that involve tools or material storage areas that could contain electricity.
Because saltwater is salty and contains 60 to 100 times more ions than freshwater, the electrical potential, or voltage, between the two electrodes rises. "The voltage is basically determined by the quantity of sodium and chlorine ions," Cui explained. "Saltwater has a higher ion concentration than fresh water, so it has a higher electrical potential." This means that to generate the same amount of electricity from saltwater as from freshwater, you need much more material from which to extract electrons.
In practice this means that saltwater electric batteries are large, heavy, and expensive to produce. They can only store energy temporarily while you are using it before they need recharging. And even then they still need replacing with each new generation of electric cars and vessels.
Freshwater electric batteries work exactly like their saltwater counterparts except they use lithium instead of sodium for the negative electrode and potassium instead of chlorine for the positive electrode. These two metals are mixed together in a dry state (without any liquid) and placed inside a battery casing. When electricity is applied, the chemicals within the cell react together to create oxygen, water, heat, and more electricity. Just like its saltwater cousin, the ultimate limit to the power of a freshwater battery is the amount of material you can pack into the case.
In a nutshell, clean water does not conduct electricity. Any contaminants in the water, such as salts, allow it to conduct electricity. When salts dissolve in water, they split into electrically charged atoms known as ions. These ions then flow through the water like tiny magnets, allowing currents to be transmitted from one place to another.
The most common ion found in saltwater is sodium. Other ions that may be present in seawater include chlorine, magnesium, calcium, potassium, iron, and aluminum. Ions are necessary for any electrical activity to occur in water, so without any ions present, there would be no way for water to conduct electricity.
When you swim in a pool or ocean, your body's electrolytes (such as sodium) are replaced because they are lost through your skin when you sweat and through your lungs when you breathe. Swimming in these waters therefore keeps you energized because your body is constantly being recharged with energy from the surrounding environment.
Contaminants in water can also cause it to become an electrical conductor. For example, if you were to touch two objects that are sitting in dirty water then you would be able to feel the current flowing between them because some of the dirt has been dissolved into ions and is now conducting electricity.