Skip to main content
[ "article:topic-guide", "showtoc:no", "license:ccbyncsa" ]
Chemistry LibreTexts

11: Liquids and Intermolecular Forces

  • Page ID
  • The physical properties of a substance depends upon its physical state. Water vapor, liquid water and ice all have the same chemical properties, but their physical properties are considerably different. In general Covalent bonds determine: molecular shape, bond energies, chemical properties, while intermolecular forces (non-covalent bonds) influence the physical properties of liquids and solids. The kinetic molecular theory of gases described in Chapter 10 gives a reasonably accurate description of the behavior of gases. A similar model can be applied to liquids, but it must take into account the nonzero volumes of particles and the presence of strong intermolecular attractive forces.

    • 11.1: A Molecular Comparison of Gases, Liquids, and Solids
      The state of a substance depends on the balance between the kinetic energy of the individual particles (molecules or atoms) and the intermolecular forces. The kinetic energy keeps the molecules apart and moving around, and is a function of the temperature of the substance and the intermolecular forces try to draw the particles together.
    • 11.2: Intermolecular Forces
      Molecules in liquids are held to other molecules by intermolecular interactions, which are weaker than the intramolecular interactions that hold molecules and polyatomic ions together. The three major types of intermolecular interactions are dipole–dipole interactions, London dispersion forces (these two are often referred to collectively as van der Waals forces), and hydrogen bonds.
    • 11.3: Some Properties of Liquids
      Surface tension, capillary action, and viscosity are unique properties of liquids that depend on the nature of intermolecular interactions. Surface tension is the energy required to increase the surface area of a liquid.  Surfactants are molecules that reduce the surface tension of polar liquids like water. Capillary action is the phenomenon in which liquids rise up into a narrow tube called a capillary. The viscosity of a liquid is its resistance to flow.
    • 11.4: Phase Changes
      Fusion, vaporization, and sublimation are endothermic processes, whereas freezing, condensation, and deposition are exothermic processes. Changes of state are examples of phase changes, or phase transitions. All phase changes are accompanied by changes in the energy of a system. Changes from a more-ordered state to a less-ordered state (such as a liquid to a gas) are endothermic. Changes from a less-ordered state to a more-ordered state (such as a liquid to a solid) are always exothermic.
    • 11.5: Vapor Pressure
      Because the molecules of a liquid are in constant motion and possess a wide range of kinetic energies, at any moment some fraction of them has enough energy to escape from the surface of the liquid to enter the gas or vapor phase. This process, called vaporization or evaporation, generates a vapor pressure above the liquid. Molecules in the gas phase can collide with the liquid surface and reenter the liquid via condensation. Eventually, a steady state or dynamic equilibrium is reached.
    • 11.6: Phase Diagrams
      The states of matter exhibited by a substance under different temperatures and pressures can be summarized graphically in a phase diagram, which is a plot of pressure versus temperature. Phase diagrams contain discrete regions corresponding to the solid, liquid, and gas phases. The solid and liquid regions are separated by the melting curve of the substance, and the liquid and gas regions are separated by its vapor pressure curve, which ends at the critical point.
    • 11.7: Structure of Solids
      A crystalline solid can be represented by its unit cell, which is the smallest identical unit that when stacked together produces the characteristic three-dimensional structure. Solids are characterized by an extended three-dimensional arrangement of atoms, ions, or molecules in which the components are generally locked into their positions. The components can be arranged in a regular repeating three-dimensional array. The smallest repeating unit of a crystal lattice is the unit cell.
    • 11.8: Bonding in Solids
      The major types of solids are ionic, molecular, covalent, and metallic. Ionic solids consist of positively and negatively charged ions held together by electrostatic forces; the strength of the bonding is reflected in the lattice energy. Ionic solids tend to have high melting points and are rather hard. Molecular solids are held together by relatively weak forces, such as dipole–dipole interactions, hydrogen bonds, and London dispersion forces. Metallic solids have unusual properties.
    • 11.E: Liquids and Intermolecular Forces (Exercises)
      These are homework exercises to accompany the Textmap created for "Chemistry: The Central Science" by Brown et al.
    • 11.S: Liquids and Intermolecular Forces (Summary)
      This is the summary Module for the chapter "Liquids and Intermolecular Forces" in the Brown et al. General Chemistry Textmap.

    Thumbnail: A water drop. Image used with permission (CC BY 2.0; José Manuel Suárez).