Interaction Potential Energy

Zoya Mulji 1K
Posts: 105
Joined: Thu Jul 11, 2019 12:15 am

Interaction Potential Energy

Can someone explain the components of the formula for interaction potential energy and what the alpha and r means?

Charisse Vu 1H
Posts: 101
Joined: Thu Jul 25, 2019 12:17 am

Re: Interaction Potential Energy

Alpha represents the polarizability of an atom and depends on the number of electrons and size of the atom. R in the equation represents the radius. So, according to the equation, the interaction potential energy is proportional to $-\frac{\alpha _{1}\alpha _{2}}{r^{6}}$.

Kaitlyn Ang 1J
Posts: 116
Joined: Fri Aug 09, 2019 12:17 am
Been upvoted: 1 time

Re: Interaction Potential Energy

Also, in context, this means that if the radius between the atoms increases, the denominator gets larger, meaning that the interaction potential energy gets less negative (so it has stronger attractive interactions).

chrischyu4a
Posts: 52
Joined: Thu Jul 25, 2019 12:16 am

Re: Interaction Potential Energy

alpha represents the polarizability of the atom which correlates with the amount of electrons that are present in the molecule. This is because more electrons allow for more distribution around the molecule which can create stronger momentary dipoles between other molecules. r represents the distance between two molecules and as shown through the equation, as the distance decreases, the greater the potential energy. This is because there is a stronger effective nuclear charge the closer adjacent molecules are to each other.

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