What are common mistakes students make with intermolecular bonds?

1 Answer
Dec 15, 2014

The two most common mistake students make with intermolecular forces are:
A) Misunderstanding the spectrum of strongest to weakest intermolecular forces:

1) Ion-induced dipole / Ion-dipole attractions
2) Hydrogen bonding
3)Dipole-dipole attractions
4)London dispersion forces

B) The second most common mistake is confusing intermolecular forces of attraction with chemical bonds (which are much stronger.)
This is an easy mistake to make, considering that some reactions come about because first they were brought closer together by intermolecular forces but it is the decrease of distance between the molecules or atoms that allows for stronger forces of attraction (coulombs law.)