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What forms when water dissociates?

  • A water molecule is made of 1 oxygen and 2 hydrogen atoms
  • The atoms are covalently bonded, they share electrons.
  • Oxygen is more electronegative than hydrogen
  • The electrons are drawn towards the oxygen atoms
  • When water dissociates (or splits) a hydrogen atom departs from the molecule, it leaves behind an electron
  • H2O becomes a negative hydroxide ion (OH-) because of the extra electron
  • The hydrogen atom becomes a positive ion (H+)
  • Hydrogen ion is now just a proton with no electrons
  • A hydrogen ion won't stay single for long
  • It will join another water molecule nearby to become a hydronium ion
  • H30+ hydronium
  • When water dissociates, it produces a hydronium ion and a hydrogen ion
  • In nature, water rarely dissociates on its own but it happens once in a blue moon
  • Dissociation of water is reversible
  • Hydronium and hydroxide turn back into stable water molecules