In autoprotolysis a proton is transferred between two identical molecules, one of which acts as a Brønsted acid, releasing a proton which is accepted by the other molecule acting as a Brønsted base. For example water undergoes autoprotolysis in the self-ionization of water reaction.
- H2O + H2O OH− + H3O+
Any solvent that contains both acidic hydrogen and lone pairs of electrons to accept H+ can undergo autoprotolysis.
For example, ammonia in its purest form may undergo autoprotolysis:
- 2NH3 NH2− + NH4+
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