The slight negative charge at one end of one water molecule is attracted to the sight positive charge of another water molecule. What is this attraction called?

1 Answer
Aug 31, 2016


This is called #"hydrogen bonding"#, and it is a potent intermolecular force.


The oxygen atom is quite electronegative, and when bound to hydrogen it tends to polarize electron density towards the oxygen atom, and away from the hydrogen nuclei.

We could represent this phenomenon as, #""^(delta+)H-O^(delta-)-H^(delta+)# (of course the molecule is bent). The hydrogen termini are thus partially positive, and they tend to align with the partially negative oxygen atoms on adjacent molecules. In aggregate, this is a potent intermolecular force, which also operates in water-like solvents such as #NH_3# and #HF#.