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What is diprotic acid?

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Quick Answer

A diprotic acid can lose two hydrogen positive ions or protons from its molecule when dissolved in water. On the other hand, a monoprotic acid can only donate one proton per molecule in an aqueous solution.

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Diprotic acids, such as sulfuric acid (H2SO4), do not always lose both protons at once in a solution to form negative ions. The acid dissociation constant Ka is different for each of the two protons. Therefore, a water solution of sulfuric acid contains both ions of HSO4- and (SO4)2-. This is called stepwise dissociation. Other examples of diprotic acids are carbonic acid, oxalic acid and hydrogen sulfide.

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