Are steric strain, van der Waals strain, and van der Waals repulsion the same?

1 Answer
Oct 3, 2015

Quick answer, #color(blue)("yes")#.


If you search online for definitions of the terms, you find the following:

Steric strain is the increase in potential energy of a molecule due to repulsion between electrons in atoms that are not directly bonded to each other.

van der Waals strain is strain resulting from van der Waals repulsion when two substituents in a molecule approach each other with a distance less than the sum of their van der Waals radii. Van der Waals strain is also called van der Waals repulsion … One of the most common forms of this strain is eclipsing hydrogen in alkanes.

To mind, the three terms are interchangeable.