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Chemistry LibreTexts

12: Intermolecular Forces (Liquids and Solids)

You may have learned that attractive intermolecular forces cause most gases to condense to liquids at high pressure, low temperature, or both. Substances that normally are liquids are held together by exactly the same forces that are responsible for the liquefaction of gases. One such substance is water, the solvent in which all biochemical reactions take place. Because of its thermal properties, water also modulates Earth’s temperature, maintaining a temperature range suitable for life. Other liquids are used to manufacture objects that we use every day—for example, a solid material is converted to a liquid, the liquid is injected into a mold, and it is then solidified into complex shapes under conditions that are carefully controlled. To understand such processes, our study of the macroscopic properties of matter must include an understanding of the properties of liquids and the interconversion of the three states of matter: gases, liquids, and solids.