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Pure distilled water is not a good conductor of electricity. If KCI is added to it, the resulting aqueous KCI solution becomes a good conductor of electricity. Such a substance that dissolves in water to give a solution that can conduct electricity is called an electrolyte. The free ions that are present in an electrolytic solution enable the flow of electric current. Most ionic substances are good electrolytes because they dissolve in water ions. A substance that exists almost completely as ions in a solution is called a strong electrolyte. Hydrochloric acid is a strong electrolyte because when HCI is dissolved in water, it completely exists as H3O+and Cl ions by reacting with water (H2O).

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Some substances (solutes) form aqueous solutions that weakly conduct electricity. Such substances are called weak electrolytes. This weak conduction of electricity is mainly because weak electrolytes only dissociate partially in solution. In other words, only a small fraction of the solute exists as ions, resulting in a solution that conducts electricity very weakly. Acetic acid (CH3COOH) and ammonia (NH3) are examples of weak electrolytes.
A substance that can dissolve in water but results in a poorly conducting solution is called nonelectrolyte. Glucose (C6H12O6) is a nonelectrolyte. A nonelectrolyte is not charged in solution because it dissolves as molecules in water rather than ions, and thus cannot conduct electricity.

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