Do intramolecular forces affect intermolecular forces (other than in polarity)E.g. in a molecule of water, when oxygen and hydrogen are covalently bonded, electrons spend more time near the Oxygen. Firstly, do electrons actually revolve around the atom?

How does this differ if double and triple bonds were in substance that is covalently bonded? Would they also spend more time near the more electronegative section of the molecule?


1 Answer 1


To answer your first question, Electrons don't revolve around the nuclei like planets in the solar system (as the bohr model may imply). The location of the electron is based upon probability.

In an example The Hydrogen atom has one electron. And according to the bohr model, it follows a fixed orbit like a planet. This however is not accurate! The electron can actually be found almost everywhere, but it is usually found in a very particular radius about the nucleus. This is illustrated in a probability density. (https://universe-review.ca/I12-06-wave.jpg)

It is is actually possible for the electron to be found inside the nucleus! (very very low percentages).

So, Because Hydrogen is much less electronegetive than Fluorine, The Electron density map will change such that it is much more probable for the electrons to be found around the Fluorine atom.

The same idea applies to double and triple bonds. Although the probability densities of those will be different from a single bond, the same general idea holds.

There is a lot of Quantum mechanics to this. If you would like to know the math you may want to head to the Physics forums.

  • $\begingroup$ While electron density etc is useful, lots of people forget that electron has not only wave but also corpuscular character - they indeed revolve around nuclei, it was even directly observed! $\endgroup$
    – Mithoron
    Commented Aug 19, 2016 at 14:19
  • $\begingroup$ @Jess L. - got it, but do these intramolecular forces affect intermolecular forces in a way other than polarity? $\endgroup$
    – Person
    Commented Aug 20, 2016 at 5:54

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