Intermolecular Attractions

Intermolecular attractions are those attractions that hold separate particles together in a solid or liquid. They are NOT the bonds that hold individual molecules together, but rather the forces that hold a group of molecules together. In other words, we are not talking about what holds two hydrogens to one oxygen in a water molecule, but rather, why lots of water molecules stick together to form a drop.

To understand intermolecular attractions you can picture all matter as composed of ions, polar molecules, non-polar molecules, or mixtures of those things.

In the diagram below, the three types of particles (ions, polar molecules and non-polar molecules) are at the corners of the triangle in black, examples are in red and the name of the force involved is in blue. The middle of each side of the triangle represents a mixture. Clicking on any of the 6 points will bring you to a page (or pages) of information about that force.

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