Electricity, water conduction test!

Does water conduct electricity? There are people who think not, there are people who swear standing together that yes! In this article, the World of Electrical takes all the doubts on this subject, besides showing why the combination water and electricity can be so dangerous! Let’s find out whether water conducts electricity or not, so come on guys!

Here on the website, we have already made an article showing that the earth conducts electricity, especially when it is humid. So it’s worth reading this other article too because it has a practical explanation of what dangerous step tension is!

Does water conduct electricity?
In the first test, we used a 127V alternating voltage source, lamp, multimeter, salt and a container with drinking water. The circuit used is very simple! The lamp was connected directly to the power supply, and the phase cable was disconnected for use in the container with water.

When the circuit is closed the lamp will light up, so if the water really conducts electricity, when the cables are in contact with water the lamp should light up, would you agree? However the lamp did not light, as shown in the image below. Does this show that water does not conduct electricity?

Electrical voltage test in water
Water conduction test. Understand why the lamp did not light!

Just looking at this first test, it is natural to think that water does not conduct electricity. However, to confirm this it is important to analyze other important factors that we are going to show you now!

With the circuit energized we use the multimeter to measure the voltage in the water and the lamp. In the image below you can see that the voltage in the water was approximately 22 volts, and the voltage in the lamp was very close to zero.

Water-resistance test
Test by measuring the voltage in the water and voltage in the lamp!

The measurement on the lamp showed that the water did conduct energy, but it was not enough to light the lamp. Therefore, this indicates that the water-resistance was very high and most of the tension was in the water.

Would the lamp turn on if the water had less resistance? The answer is yes! We added a little salt to this water, mixed it and that was enough for the lamp to start lighting. The more salt was added to this water, the stronger the brightness of the lamp became , as shown in the image below.

Does water conduct electricity?
Increasing the brightness of the lamp by putting salt in the water!

We measure the voltage again with the multimeter! Now the voltage in the water is close to 5 volts, that is, much lower than before. The voltage on the lamp, which was almost zero, went to approximately 98 volts!

Water-resistance test
Result of the stress test in saltwater

Water conducts electricity: Mineral salts and impurities
The conduction of electricity in the water is directly related to the number of impurities in the water, that is, the test shows that the greater the number of mineral salts or other impurities, the lower the resistance of the water.

It is important that you understand that pure water itself does not conduct electricity! In fact, pure water is a great insulator because it has a very high resistivity, and we can see that in the tests.

Water tension level
Despite the measurements from previous tests showing relatively low voltage values, do not think that water is not dangerous because depending on the level of voltage applied, the risk of electric shock increases.

Therefore, if the voltage is very high as in the case of accidents with lightning and high voltage cables, the flow of electric current in the water will be much higher. And to prove this we did another test using a 2,000V transformer, multimeter, drinking water, salt, and deionized water.

To start, we use deionized water, which is water without mineral salts and impurities! When the transformer was connected, the voltage measured in the water was approximately 600 Volts. We repeated the same test using drinking water, and this time the measured voltage was approximately 300 volts. When we add and mix salt in this drinking water, the measured voltage has reduced a lot, as shown in the image below.

Does water conduct electricity?
Testing the tension in deionized water and drinking water.

The conclusion is that water works like a resistor connected to a circuit. Therefore, the greater the water resistance, the greater the tension measured over it. So folks, the warning I make is that water and electricity do not match!

Although the test shows that pure water practically does not conduct electricity, you will rarely be in contact with pure water, as it is only used in very specific industrial or laboratory situations.