How does water conduct electricity?

Find out the answer right here.

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Massive wave!

Asked by Joe Yates

The short answer is: pure water does not conduct electricity. Any impurities, like salts, in the water enable it to conduct electricity. When salts are dissolved in water, they separate into different electrically charged atoms called ions. Salt, or sodium chloride (NaCl), breaks up into positive Na ions and negative Cl ions.
If you place a battery with a negative pole and a positive pole into water, the negative ions will be attracted to the positive pole and the positive ions will be attracted to the negative pole thus creating a closed circuit.

Amanda Mahr, Science Museum

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  • Steve

    Hello! Being from the north of ireland I sadly missed out on the supermoon! The joys of overcast. Will it be another 18 years before i see it again? If so i hope the moon will be in the right phase. As for the father ted episode, what a classic! Enjoying issue 19 a great deal. Keep up the great work!

  • Jonny O’Callaghan

    Hi Steve, it’s a shame you weren’t able to see it in all its glory. Here in Bournemouth we had a fairly decent view, certainly very impressive! Actually, supermoons are much more regular than 18 years, it’s just that this one happened to coincide with a full moon more closely than previous ones. The last supermoon, in 2008, was just 21 miles further away but the moon didn’t turn full for several hours after the point of closest approach, so the effect was less prominent. Here’s a list of past and upcoming supermoons for your perusal:

    * November 10, 1954
    * November 20, 1972
    * January 8, 1974
    * February 26, 1975
    * December 2, 1990
    * January 19, 1992
    * March 8, 1993
    * January 10, 2005
    * December 12, 2008
    * January 30, 2010
    * March 19, 2011
    * November 14, 2016
    * January 2, 2018
    * January 21, 2023
    * November 25, 2034
    * January 13, 2036

    So, just five years to wait! There will also be a full moon on November 14 2016 so chances are that the supermoon should be of a similar size. You can check out when full moons will occur at the following link so you’ll know which year to tune in for the next supermoon!

    Hope I’ve been of help :-)

    Jonny O’Callaghan
    Staff Writer

  • steve

    Thankyou very much for your help. I will be marking some dates on my calender! I was actually watching the moon rise last night while viewing saturn in my scope when i posted my comment. I hope some day i will be reading a page in your magazine on how life works on other planets! Thanks again.

  • Jonny O’Callaghan

    No problem Steve. I too very much hope we will be able to definitively talk about alien life in the not too distant future, be it microbial or otherwise!