Potential Energy Equation

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Lauryn Shinno 2H
Posts: 59
Joined: Fri Sep 28, 2018 12:24 am

Potential Energy Equation

Postby Lauryn Shinno 2H » Sat Nov 10, 2018 6:58 pm

Hi, in class Dr. Lavelle brought up the equation Ep is proportional to alpha1*alpha2/r^6. What does this mean?

Joaquin Andrade
Posts: 31
Joined: Fri Sep 28, 2018 12:27 am

Re: Potential Energy Equation

Postby Joaquin Andrade » Sat Nov 10, 2018 8:25 pm

This potential energy equation applies to London dispersion force interactions, in which the alpha values denote the polarizability of the respective molecules. According to the equation, the potential energy of two molecules in a London dispersion interaction increases with greater polarizability of the molecule, and with smaller distance between the molecules. This is why rod-shaped molecules have stronger london dispersion interactions than spherical molecules - they are able to get closer to each other. Also higher polarizability means more fluctuations in electron density and thus large instantaneous dipole moments which will cause strong London interactions.

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