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In class, we talked about the different intermolecular forces, and Dr. Lavelle mentioned that London Dispersion Forces are the weakest. What exactly are London Dispersion Forces, and why are they much weaker?
London Dispersion forces can have multiple names including induced dipole-induced dipole and Van der Waals forces. These forces are always present and attractive and occur when fluctuating electron distribution results in fluctuating dipoles. London Dispersion forces are the weakest because they involve temporary interactions between atoms within two separate molecules and have a very strong dependence on the distance between the atoms. The dispersion force is so closely tied with distance that the equation 1/(r^6) is used to show how the force drastically weakens with a small increase in distance. Also, as the molar mass of the atoms increases, so do the London Dispersion forces.
The London dispersion force is the weakest intermolecular force. The London dispersion force is a temporary attractive force that results when the electrons in two adjacent atoms occupy positions that make the atoms form temporary dipoles. This force is sometimes called an induced dipole-induced dipole attraction.
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