Sorry if this is a silly question, but I often see in online study resources that sulfuric acid is written as H^+/H₂O rather than H₂SO₄.
For instance “Heat alkene with sulfuric acid H+ /H2O to add water across C=C and make an alcohol.”
Am I just misunderstanding this or can H₂SO₄ actually be written this way and why.
Welcome to the forum where there is no such thing as a silly question and this certainly isn’t. The use of sulfuric acid can be confusing because in organic chemistry it can be used as a reagent/catalyst in either dilute or concentrated form and they have different purposes. The concentrated form is used to dehydrate (remove water from) an alcohol to produce an alkene. But the dilute form of sulfuric acid is somewhat confusingly used for the opposite reaction ie to hydrate an alkene to produce an alcohol. Therefore we need to state either conc H2SO4 or dil H2SO4 as appropriate. However, as a final complication for the hydration reaction it really only requires any acid as the reagent is H2O and the catalyst is H+. So instead of writing dil H2SO4 an alternative more generic form is used to represent any dilute acid ie H+/H2O.
Hope that clarifies.