What are the intermolecular forces in water?

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May 15, 2018


Water has hydrogen bonds, dipole-induced dipole forces, and London dispersion forces.


In order of decreasing strength, the types of intermolecular bonds in covalent substances are:

  • Hydrogen bonds
  • Dipole-dipole attractions
  • Dipole-induced dipole attractions
  • London dispersion forces

You start at the top and work down. If a substance has one type of intermolecular bond, it has all the other forces listed below it.

Water has polar O-H bonds. The negative O atoms attract the positive H atoms in nearby molecules, leading to the unusually strong type of dipole-dipole force called a hydrogen bond.


Since water has hydrogen bonds, it also has dipole-induced dipole and London dispersion forces. The hydrogen bonds are the strongest force, but the other types of intermolecular attraction are still present.

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