Unveiling the Secrets of Vanderwaal Force of Attraction: Demystifying an Intriguing Natural Phenomenon

Van der Waals force of attraction is a weak intermolecular force that exists between nonpolar molecules. It occurs due to temporary fluctuations in the electron cloud of the molecules, creating a temporary dipole that induces a dipole in the neighboring molecule, resulting in attractive forces.

So let us dig a little deeper

Van der Waals forces, also known as dispersion forces or London forces, are weak intermolecular forces that exist between nonpolar molecules. These forces play a fundamental role in numerous phenomena, such as adsorption, solubility, and the interactions between polymers. Let’s delve further into the detailed explanation of Van der Waals forces and explore some interesting facts about this intriguing concept.

Van der Waals forces arise due to temporary fluctuations in the electron distribution around an atom or molecule, leading to the formation of temporary dipoles. These temporary dipoles can induce dipoles in nearby atoms or molecules, resulting in attractive forces. Although these forces are relatively weak compared to covalent or ionic bonds, they are crucial for holding nonpolar molecules together and influencing their physical properties.

To better comprehend the significance of Van der Waals forces, let’s consider a quote from the prominent physicist Richard P. Feynman: “If we explain why the various substances, such as water, do not collapse into a heap, we shall then have to explain why atoms stick together.” This quote emphasizes the role of intermolecular forces, like Van der Waals forces, in maintaining the structural integrity of matter.

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Here are some interesting facts about Van der Waals forces:

  1. Types of Van der Waals forces: Van der Waals forces encompass three main types: London dispersion forces, dipole-dipole interactions, and dipole-induced dipole interactions.

  2. London dispersion forces: These are the most common type of Van der Waals forces. They occur in all molecules and arise due to random fluctuations in electron distribution. Even in nonpolar molecules, temporary dipoles can form, inducing dipoles in neighboring molecules and resulting in attractive forces.

  3. Dipole-dipole interactions: Dipole-dipole interactions occur between polar molecules. In these interactions, the positive end of one molecule is attracted to the negative end of another molecule, leading to an attractive force. Dipole-dipole interactions are generally stronger than London dispersion forces.

  4. Dipole-induced dipole interactions: Dipole-induced dipole interactions occur when the presence of a polar molecule induces a temporary dipole in a nearby nonpolar molecule. This induces an attractive force between the two molecules.

  5. Distance dependence: Van der Waals forces diminish with increasing distance between molecules. As the distance becomes larger, the attractive force weakens.

Now, let’s take a look at a table highlighting the main characteristics of each type of Van der Waals forces:

Type of Van der Waals Force Description
London dispersion forces Arise due to temporary fluctuations in electron distribution
Dipole-dipole interactions Occur between polar molecules
Dipole-induced dipole forces Arise when the presence of a polar molecule induces a dipole in a nonpolar molecule

In conclusion, Van der Waals forces play a vital role in determining the behavior of nonpolar molecules and are responsible for various phenomena observed in chemistry and physics. Understanding these forces assists in explaining the stability of matter and the interactions between molecules.

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Video answer to “What is vanderwall force of attraction?”


This video explains Van der Waals forces as weak forces of attraction between molecules, that are much weaker than chemical bonds within a molecule. Polar molecules with permanent electrical charges are attracted to each other because of their oppositely charged poles, while nonpolar molecules can also become polar due to temporary distribution of electrons. These forces account for cohesion and adhesion between molecules in substances, and also explain how geckos climb on smooth surfaces.

Addition to the subject

You knew that, In the modern era, the concepts of nanomaterials, polymer chemistry, and supramolecular chemistry can not be applied without the input of Van der Waals forces. This article reveals the extendable features of Van der Waal forces, to unlock more, download Testbook App now. How are ionic bonds and van der Waals forces similar?
Thematic fact: Van der Waals is most closely associated with the Van der Waals equation of state, which describes the behavior of gases and their condensation to the liquid phase. He also accounted for the finite size of the molecules.
Wondering what, The van der Waals’ forces are the forces that exist between the millions of separate water molecules, and not between the hydrogen and oxygen atoms in the case of water. Dipole-Dipole forces are one of van der Waals’ three forces. Dipole Dipole forces occur in polar molecules, that is, molecules that have an unequal sharing of electrons.
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