# What does water dissociate into?

Jul 6, 2016

I believe you are referring to the autoionization of water. All that really happens is a transfer of an ${\text{H}}^{+}$ to another water molecule.

This is very slight, but it does happen and we have to be aware of it as it is very important to include it to determine relationships between $\text{pH}$, $\text{pOH}$, ${\text{pK}}_{a}$, and ${\text{pK}}_{b}$.

$\setminus m a t h b f \left(2 {\text{H"_2"O"(l) rightleftharpoons "H"_3"O"^(+)(aq) + "OH}}^{-} \left(a q\right)\right)$

The equilibrium constant for this is

color(blue)("K"_w = ["H"_3"O"^(+)]["OH"^(-)] = 10^(-14)),

remembering to NOT include liquids and solids, as their contribution is considered $1$, and $1$ times anything is itself.

This yields relationships like

$\text{pH}$ $+$ $\text{pOH} = 14 ,$

${\text{K"_axx"K"_b = "K}}_{w} ,$

and

${\text{pK"_a + "pK"_b = "pK}}_{w} ,$

where:

• ${\text{K}}_{a}$ and ${\text{K}}_{b}$ are acid or base dissociation equilibrium constants, respectively.
• ${\text{pK}}_{x}$ is the $- {\log}_{10}$ of ${\text{K}}_{x}$.
• "pH" = -log["H"^(+)] = -log["H"_3"O"^(+)].
• "pOH" = -log["OH"^(-)].