How do intermolecular forces affect freezing point?

1 Answer
Jan 29, 2014

Molecules with stronger intermolecular force have higher freezing points.


Let’s look at it from the point of view of a solid, where the particles are held in position by their intermolecular forces of attraction.

If we raise the temperature enough to overcome these forces, the solid will melt.

A solid with high intermolecular forces will require more energy (i.e., a higher temperature) to overcome these attractions and will have a higher melting point.

Conversely, as the temperature of a liquid sample decreases, the average kinetic energy of the molecules decreases and they move more slowly.

Since the molecules are near each other, the slower they go, the more the intermolecular forces attract them to each other.

Molecules with stronger intermolecular forces are pulled together tightly to form a solid at higher temperatures, so their freezing point is higher.

Molecules with lower intermolecular forces will not solidify until the temperature is lowered further.