In our chemistry lesson when learning about the Bronsted-Lowry definition for acids and bases, we came across the reaction...

H2O + H2O -> H3O+ + OH-

...Where water is amphiprotic which means it acts as an acid and base. Does this mean that water is a combination of hydronium and hydroxide? How is it not harmful to drink then?


1 Answer 1


If there are arrows going both ways then that means it’s in equilibrium between the right side (products) and the left side (reactants).

It doesn’t mean that water is a mix of H3O+ and -OH, a vast majority of water will stay H2O, and the small amount of H3O+ or -OH wouldn’t be anywhere near a concentration to hurt you

I think the purpose of that was to show that water has the potential to form H3O+ and -OH in itself in an attempt to teach you about acid base equilibrium


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