I am trying to explain why some solids are more soluble in water than others.

So the energy released from the formation of bonds between the solid solute molecules and water molecules compensate the energy needed to break the intermolecular bonds between water molecules and the intermolecular bonds between the solute molecules.

The problem is that I'm not sure if I have used the correct terminology, for example I have never used intermolecular 'bonds', I've only used intermolecular forces before.


1 Answer 1


Here is how I think of the situation.

  • The term "bond" is generally reserved to describe an attractive, stabilizing interaction between atoms or groups in the same molecule or in different molecules, that has a magnitude of at least several kcal/mol. Everything from hydrogen bonds at the low end up to full chemical bonds at the high magnitude end are included.
  • The terms "force" and "interaction" can be used to describe any attractive or repulsive situation, of any magnitude, between atoms or molecules. So these terms would be used to describe the van der Waals "interaction", where the "forces" involved are much less than those involved in bonding. However, the terms "force" and "bonding" can also be used to describe situations involving larger magnitude interactions such as, "bringing the atoms together led to a bonding interaction."

"Force" and "interaction" can be used to describe any situation - attractive, repulsive, high energy, low energy; whereas "bonding" is typically reserved to describe stabilizing, higher energy interactions.

  • $\begingroup$ While this answer is nicely written and very clear in the general sense, it does not really address the specifics of the question. Please consider explicitly detailing how these terms are related to water solubility. $\endgroup$
    – Lighthart
    Commented Jul 14, 2014 at 14:34
  • $\begingroup$ As always, my understanding may be limited. Please feel free to post a more complete answer. $\endgroup$
    – ron
    Commented Jul 14, 2014 at 14:42

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