What is the difference between dipole-dipole forces, hydrogen bonding, and London dispersion forces?

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Hvalur Share
Jan 29, 2016


Dipole-dipole forces are between dipoles, which the other two forces are not. Hydrogen bonding can be said to be a strong variant of a dipole-dipole force.


Dipole-dipole forces does, simply enough, occur between two dipoles. A molecule which is dipole will have the centrum of the negative electrical charge on one side of the molecule, and the centrum of the positive electrical charge on the other side. This will attract other dipole molecules, which will bind to the first dipole with the first dipoles positive side to the others negative side. The molecules will be kept together by electrostatic forces.

London dispersion forces are forces between atoms/molecules which is by default non-dipole. It's pretty much a spontaneous reaction, and happens thanks to the fluctuation in a non-dipoles "electron cloud".

If two molecules are nearing each other and the electron cloud just happens to be more dense on one side, the molecule will become a "momentary dipole", meaning it's centrum of negative charge will momentarily be on one side of the molecule while the positive will momentarily be on the other. The two momentarily dipoles will attract each other by the same premise as the electrostatic forces of dipole-dipole forces. The London dispersion forces are however very weak and will most likely not last long.

Hydrogen bondings can be simplified and said to be a strong version of a dipole-dipole bonding which occurs when the positively charges side of a molecule consists of Hydrogen and it binds to one of the three most electronegative elements (Nitrogen, Oxygen and Flourine.)

Not very advanced answers perhaps, but I hoped that I could be of help!

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