Why Does Citric Acid Produce Electricity?

Citric acid can conduct an electrical current between metal terminals.
••• lcsatlos/iStock/Getty Images

Citric acid does not produce electricity by itself. Rather, this weak acid turns into an electrolyte -- an electrically conductive substance -- when it's dissolved in fluid. The charged ions of the electrolyte allow electricity to travel through the fluid.

Citric Acid Conduction

Acids are electrolytes because they break into negatively charged anions and positively charged cations when they're placed in solution. The electrolytic solution then conducts electricity when the anions migrate toward a positive terminal, made of a positively charged metal, that's placed in the solution and the cations migrate toward a negative terminal, made of a negatively charged metal. When they reach the terminals, the anions take electrons from the positive metal and the cations lose electrons to the negative metal. This electron exchange produces the electrical charge. The terminals must be made of two different types of metal, such as steel and copper, for the reaction to occur.

Related Articles

Batteries Rely on What to Separate Positive & Negative...
The Effects of Saltwater on Metals
What Are Three Important Parts Needed to Make a Battery?
How Does a Potato Clock Work?
Describe the Process of Electrolysis in the Production...
Are Ions Hydrophobic Or Hydrophilic?
How to Make Electricity for a Science Fair Project...
Three Types of Aqueous Reactions
How Are Magnets Used to Generate Electricity?
How to Write the Net Ionic Equation for the Reaction...
How to Build a Clorox Bleach Battery
How to Make a Potato Lightbulb for a Science Project
How to Dissolve Steel
How to Wire a Battery in Series
Parts of a Motor
What Is Output Voltage?
How to Mix Calcium Chloride and Water
Types of Metals That Attract Magnets
How to Make a Potato Lamp
How to Calculate Kb From Ka