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If water is H2O, what is H3O?

If water is H2O, what is H3O

If water is H2O, what is H3O?

H3O+ is known as the hydronium ion. It is a positively charged ion of three hydrogen atoms bonded to an oxygen atom. When water molecules interact with a hydrogen ion (H+) in an aqueous solution, they can form hydronium ions (H3O+). It occurs when a hydrogen ion is attracted to a lone pair of electrons on a neighbouring water molecule, forming a coordinate covalent bond. The presence of hydronium ions in solution is essential in understanding acid-base chemistry.

The hydronium ion, often called H3O+, is a central concept in acid-base chemistry. Here’s a bit more detail:

When a water molecule (H2O) gains a proton (H+) from an acid, it forms a hydronium ion (H3O+). The process involves the transfer of a hydrogen ion (H+) from the acid to a water molecule. This proton transfer creates a positively charged ion with three hydrogen and one oxygen atom.

In solution, the concentration of hydronium ions is used to measure a substance’s acidity. The more hydronium ions present, the more acidic the solution is. The pH scale is commonly used to quantify the acidity or basicity of a solution. A lower pH value indicates higher acidity, while a higher pH value indicates higher basicity.

Hydronium ions play a critical role in many chemical reactions and are fundamental to understanding the behaviour of acids and bases.

How much is one pint of water?

What is H3O?

H3O is not a chemical formula for a commonly known substance. The chemical formula H2O represents water, composed of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom. “H3O” does not have a commonly accepted meaning in chemistry nor represent a stable or well-known substance.

In chemistry, “H3O” may sometimes represent the hydronium ion, a cation formed when an acid dissolves in water. However, this ion is usually represented as H3O+ rather than simply H3O.

If water is H2O, what is H3O

H3O is the hydronium ion formed when a water molecule (H2O) gains an extra hydrogen ion (H+). It occurs in solutions where the pH is acidic, and the extra hydrogen ion dissociates from the acid and combines with a water molecule to form a hydronium ion.

If water is H2O, what is H3O

In chemistry, H3O is known as hydronium. It is the production of protonation in water. H3O is known as hydronium. A positively charged ion forms when a water molecule (H2O) gains an extra hydrogen ion (H+). In aqueous solutions, water molecules can donate and accept protons, forming hydronium ions (H3O+).

It occurs when a water molecule accepts a proton from another molecule or dissociates in the presence of an acid. Hydronium ions are commonly found in acidic solutions and play a significant role in acid-base chemistry.

It’s important to note that the concentration of hydronium ions in water determines its pH level, with higher concentrations indicating more acidic conditions.

If water is H2O, what is H3O?

Hydronium is the common name for the aqueous cation H3O+¹. The protonation of water produces it and is often viewed as the positive ion present when an Arrhenius acid is dissolved in water. The molar concentration of hydronium or H+ ions determines a solution’s pH according to where M = mol/L. 

The concentration of hydroxide ions analogously determines a solution’s pOH. The molecules in pure water auto-dissociate into aqueous protons and hydroxide ions in the following equilibrium: H2O ⇌ OH−(aq) + H+(aq)¹⁴.

I hope that helps!


(1) Hydronium – Wikipedia. Hydronium – Wikipedia.

(2) Self-ionization of water – Wikipedia. Self-ionization of water – Wikipedia.

(3) Bachelor of Nursing (H3O) – University of Tasmania. H3O Bachelor of Nursing.

(4) Digital Transformation Experts – H3O Digital. Digital Transformation Experts – H3O Digital.

What is Protonation?

It is the process where there is an addition of proton H^+ to an atom or molecule.

Difference between H2O and H3O

In water, there are two hydrogens and one oxygen

In hydronium, there are three hydrogens and one oxygen

Water molecules change from H2O to become ion H3O^+ because hydrogen becomes 3 with a positive sign

What does H3O do to the body?

H3O supplies an array of electrolytes, minerals and important antioxidants that help promote hydration in the body. Hydration gives the body a glow and prevents the cracking of lips.

Can you drink H3O?

There is no such thing as uncharged H3O, but if you mean H3O+, you can drink it and do so every day. The hydronium ion is formed when an acid (specifically an Arrhenius acid) is added to water. (A very miniscule amount of hydronium ions is present in plain distilled water.)

The pH of an aqueous solution measures its hydronium ion concentration: the lower the pH, the more hydronium ions are around. Your bottle of Coke or glass of lemonade is loaded with them.

The hydronium ion itself is a very strong acid, the strongest that can exist in an aqueous solution. But in reality, it does not exist in isolation but is surrounded (or “hydrated”) by neutral water molecules.

Nor does a given hydronium ion stick around very long. It’s constantly and very rapidly giving its H+ ion to a nearby water molecule, turning it into a hydronium ion and becoming a plain old water molecule itself. The only stable place is in crystals of some strong acids called hydronium ion salts.

What does pure H2O taste like?

You must consult your Chemistry professor and, in serious cases, the government for permission to obtain a mere yet valuable drop of pure Dihydrogen Monoxide.

Just kidding.

The acquisition of pure H2O, or simply pure water, is, as a matter of fact, not formidable at all. Its ease may be beyond your imagination. There are several means through which you can acquire pure H2O. 

Personally, speaking from experience, I recommend you excuse yourself from what you are currently doing, spare a couple of minutes for a risky venture to the supermarket near where you are, and search vigilantly in a desperate attempt to locate the whereabouts of a plastic bottle labelled ‘distilled water’, make every endeavour to survive until you reach the cashier with your bottle of distilled water intact. And congratulations, you can now taste pure H2O after careful plans and risky adventures!

And yes, only then do you finally realize that the taste of pure H2O is the same as distilled water. It tastes like water.

Oh, and on a side note, remember to bring your wallet.

If water is H2O

What is the difference between H+ and H3O+?

H+ is the hydrogen cation – generated when a hydrogen atom loses an electron. Because a neutral hydrogen atom is composed only of a single electron and a single proton, this hydrogen cation may also be called “a proton” because the ion is simply a naked proton. 

This hydrogen cation or proton has traditionally been considered what forms in water after an acid ionizes because the acid will ionize into the hydrogen cation and its respective anion. This notation/theory of acid ionization ignores the aqueous solution (presence of water as a solvent) and only accounts for the direct production of ions:

Example: Hydrochloric acid ionizing:

However, this is different from the reality of what occurs. When the hydrogen cation is released into water, it does not merely float around freely. Water is a molecular compound containing no true counterion charges to neutralize the positive charge of the released proton. 

While water is a highly polar substance, it doesn’t have full formal charges to balance the presence of the H+ and Cl- ions. Instead, the hydrogen cation will form a coordinated covalent bond with a water molecule by sharing one of the lone pairs on the oxygen atom of a water molecule. When this new covalent bond forms, the hydronium cation.

Hydronium cation formation: Thus, the primary differences are:

  • H+ is the actual hydrogen cation produced when the acid ionizes.
  • While H+ is the action of hydrogen produced when the acid ionizes, the hydrogen cation isn’t as stable as a solitary entity in aqueous solution. The hydronium cation H3O+ is the actual form of ion within an aqueous solution when an acid molecule ionizes.
  • Both H+ and H3O+ are utilized interchangeably in chemistry notation. They are considered equivalent notations in acid/base chemistry.
  • When someone asks, “What is the proton concentration?” they are asking, “What is the H+ concentration?” and that is equivalent to asking, “What is the concentration of hydronium ions?” if talking about aqueous solution.

It should also be noted that water does auto-ionize:

OH- is a polyatomic anion known as the hydroxide anion. Higher hydroxide anions and lower concentrations of hydronium cations are considered the hallmarks of basic aqueous solutions. On the other hand, higher concentrations of hydronium cations and lower concentrations of hydroxide anions are considered the hallmarks of an acidic aqueous solution.

The previous reaction written above has a specific equilibrium constant, known as the Kw or “autionization water constant”. At 25 degrees Celcius and approximately 1 bar pressure, this is:

If water is H2O, what is H3O

In pure (neutral) water, where there has been neither any single amount of acid or base added, this means we can set x = [H3O+] = [OH-]:

If water is H2O, what is H3O

If we go through and solve this, we will find that:

If water is H2O, what is H3O

Hence, we can find the concentrations of both hydronium cations and hydroxide anions.

For convenience, we have used a logarithmic scale because concentrations of hydronium cations and hydroxide cations can change by orders of 10. The convenient annotation of “pH” (and, to a lesser extent, “pOH”) was created to allow comparisons of acidity and basicity to be made. 

Due to the original use of the H+ notation that has been replaced with H3O+ notation, it was called “pH” rather than “pH3O”. The actual equation for this is:

If water is H2O, what is H3O

Which can be rewritten for use with the interchangeable hydronium cation to look like this:

If water is H2O, what is H3O

Although they are the same thing, they will have the same values.

The normal pH scale that people encounter ranges from 0 to 14. However, there are such things as pH values less than 0 (meaning there is a negative pH) and pH values larger than 14. It is caused by strong acids with concentrations that exceed 1 M and strong bases that exceed 1M.

Plugging in the relative concentration of hydronium cation from neutral water, you’ll always find that the pH of pure water is = 7.

What is H3O2 water?

In Advanced Inorganic Chemistry by Cotton and Wilkinson (Wiley), an H3O2 ion is described. It is the solvated hydroxyl ion, combining one molecule of water (H2O) and one hydroxyl (OH) ion. 

Note that it is a negatively charged ion and not water, although it is made from water and a component of water. This compound is in hydrated complexes with metals, such as chromium. It is also presumed to be complex with other anions that align with the ion’s oxygen atoms.

So, while H3O2 is not water and can’t exist by itself, it’s a close relative to water. I don’t see any reason why it could not co-exist in normal water with, say, the hydronium ion H3O, which would take the hydrogen left over after a water molecule has disassociated and the hydroxyl part has joined another water molecule to form the H3O2. 

Ions may not be long-lived and can exist in equilibria with others. So, normal water in your glass is likely to have some of these less well-known ions.

I stress the term ‘normal’ water and think anyone touting some alleged health benefits of their specially-treated water must shoulder the burden of proof. They usually don’t.



So that water molecule changes from H2O to become the ion H3O+ (hydronium). It is “H3” because there are now three hydrogen atoms and “+” because there is an extra positive charge since there are only two electrons but three protons associated with the three hydrogen atoms within the molecule.

If water is H2O, what is H3O?