There are four basic types of bonds that can be formed between two or more (otherwise non-associated) molecules, ions or atoms. Intermolecular forces cause molecules to be attracted or repulsed by each other. Often, these define some of the physical characteristics (such as the melting point) of a substance.
- A large difference in electronegativity between two bonded atoms will cause a permanent charge separation, or dipole, in a molecule or ion. Two or more molecules or ions with permanent dipoles can interact within dipole-dipole interactions. The bonding electrons in a molecule or ion will, on average, be closer to the more electronegative atom more frequently than the less electronegative one, giving rise to partial charges on each atom, and causing electrostatic forces between molecules or ions.
- A hydrogen bond is effectively a strong example of an interaction between two permanent dipoles. The large difference in electronegativities between hydrogen and any of fluorine, nitrogen and oxygen, coupled with their lone pairs of electrons cause strong electrostatic forces between molecules. Hydrogen bonds are responsible for the high boiling points of water and ammonia with respect to their heavier analogues.
- The London dispersion force arises due to instantaneous dipoles in neighbouring atoms. As the negative charge of the electron is not uniform around the whole atom, there is always a charge imbalance. This small charge will induce a corresponding dipole in a nearby molecule; causing an attraction between the two. The electron then moves to another part of the electron cloud and the attraction is broken.
- A cation–pi interaction occurs between a pi bond and a cation.
Read more about this topic: Chemical Bond
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