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Ionization of Water

Usually pure water is considered to be a nonelectrolyte. Nevertheless, it actually can conduct small amounts of electricity. This is because of the self-ionization of water. Since the species that act as the acid and the base are one and the same, we can describe it as follows:

A proton is grabbed from one water molecule, and is accepted by another water molecule. The resulting products are hydronium and hydroxide ions.

image\24972 ch 9.png

The equilibrium expression (KW) is written as:

image\24981 ch 9.png

KWis more correctly called the ion-product constant for water, which is actually the equilibrium value of the ion product.

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