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Homework Help: Conductivity of organic compund

  1. Apr 17, 2008 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data

    Why doesn't CH3CH2OH (alcohol) conduct electricity but CH3COOH does?

    2. Relevant equations

    3. The attempt at a solution

    I did some research on the website( answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20080411203909AAqYaN1). It mentions about the difference of bonding between ionic coumpounds and covelant compund will result the difference in conductivity.

    And in the end, the article mentions about
    "Sucrose and any form of alcohol are molecular, covalent compounds (organic molecules. covalent = non-metal/non-metal bond)."

    But isn't CH3COOH organic molecule?

    I still don't really understand why CH3COOH will seperate into two ions, CH3COO- and H+ while alcohol won't.
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 17, 2008 #2


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    The compound you express as CH3COOH, ethanoic acid (commonly called acetic acid) is a weak organic acid and will dissociate into ions, therefore the ions can conduct electricity.
  4. Apr 17, 2008 #3
    Another way to think about it is to ask which molecule is more acidic, and why. In order to do this you have to consider the stability of the conjugate base that is formed when the two molecules lose a proton. Whichever molecule has a more stable conjugate base will be more acidic. What is it that makes CH3COO- more stable than CH3CH2O-?
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