With respect to acids, what do we mean by #"ionization"#?

1 Answer
Dec 18, 2016

Consider the ionization of hydrochloric acid:

#HCl(aq) + H_2O(l) rightleftharpoons H_3O^(+) + Cl^-#


The charge separation that the acid undergoes upon protonolysis, i.e. its donation of a proton to the solvent molecule, is the so-called #"ionization."#

For stronger acids, ionization (and protonolysis) is almost complete, and the equilibrium lies strongly to the right.