Topic 4 - Chemical bonding and structure - 4.4 Intermolecular forces

Nature of science:

Obtain evidence for scientific theories by making and testing predictions based on them-London (dispersion) forces and hydrogen bonding can be used to explain special interactions. For example, molecular covalent compounds can exist in the liquid and solid states. To explain this, there must be attractive forces between their particles which are significantly greater than those that could be attributed to gravity. 2.2


Intermolecular forces include London (dispersion) forces, dipole-dipole forces and hydrogen bonding.

The relative strengths of these interactions are London (dispersion) forces < dipole-dipole forces < hydrogen bonds.

Applications and skills

Deduction of the types of intermolecular force present in substances, based on their structure and chemical formula.

Explanation of the physical properties of covalent compounds (volatility, electrical conductivity and solubility) in terms of their structure and intermolecular forces.


The term “London (dispersion) forces” refers to instantaneous induced dipole induced dipole forces that exist between any atoms or groups of atoms and should be used for non-polar entities.

The term “van der Waals” is an inclusive term, which includes dipole–dipole, dipole-induced dipole and London (dispersion) forces.