van der Waals forces


van der Waals forces

noun plural \ˈvan-dər-ˌwlz-, ˈvän-dər-ˌvälz-\

Definition of VAN DER WAALS FORCES

:  the relatively weak attractive forces that act on neutral atoms and molecules and that arise because of the electric polarization induced in each of the particles by the presence of other particles

Origin of VAN DER WAALS FORCES

Johannes D. van der Waals †1923 Dutch physicist
First Known Use: 1939

van der Waals forces

noun plural \ˈvan-dər-ˌwlz-\   (Medical Dictionary)

Medical Definition of VAN DER WAALS FORCES

: the relatively weak attractive forces that are operative between neutral atoms and molecules and that arise because of the electric polarization induced in each of the particles by the presence of other particles

Biographical Note for VAN DER WAALS FORCES

Waals \ˈwäls\ Johannes Diederik van der (1837–1923), Dutch physicist. Van der Waals was a professor of physics at the University of Amsterdam. In 1873 he first postulated the van der Waals forces in support of his theoretical treatment of real as distinguished from ideal gases. In 1910 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics for his research on the mathematical equations describing the gaseous and liquid states of matter.

van der Waals forces

   (Concise Encyclopedia)

Relatively weak electrical forces that attract neutral (uncharged) molecules to each other in gases, liquefied and solidified gases, and almost all organic liquids and solids. Solids held together by van der Waals forces typically have lower melting points and are softer than those held together by ionic, covalent, or metallic bonds (see bonding). The forces arise because neutral molecules, though uncharged, are usually electric dipoles, which have a tendency to align with each other and to induce further polarization in neighbouring molecules, resulting in a net attractive force. They are somewhat weaker than the forces involved in hydrogen bonding. See also Johannes D. van der Waals.

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