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LSM 4.

LA-3

Lab Exercise 4.5.1: Boiling Points and Intermolecular Forces


Name ________________
/20
In all liquids, intermolecular forces are important, but these forces become negligible in the gas state for the conditions at
which liquids boil. Therefore, we are looking at a situation where intermolecular forces must be overcome by adding energy,
but no new bonds are formed. The temperature at which a liquid boils reflects the strength of the intermolecular forces
present among the molecules. Higher temperatures mean more energy has been added and the intermolecular forces must
have been stronger.

Purpose
The purpose of this lab exercise is to test the theory and rules for London and dipoledipole forces.
THE THEORY STATES: The London Force is due to the simultaneous attraction of the electrons of one
molecule by the positive nuclei in the surrounding molecules. The strength of the London force is directly
related to the number of electrons in the molecule.

Question
What is the trend in boiling points of the hydrogen compounds of elements in groups 1417 (Table 1)?

Hypothesis/Prediction
(a) Based upon dipoledipole and London forces, write a prediction for the trend in boiling points within and between
groups. Your prediction could include a general sketch of a graph of boiling point versus number of electrons per
molecule. Provide your reasoning. 2 marks
Within a given group, molecules with a greater number electrons will have stronger London forces, because there is
a greater chance of an electron being randomly moved when there are more total electrons (due to electron
shielding). Stronger London forces result in higher boiling points, so within a group, molecules with more electrons
will have higher boiling points.
Between groups, it is hypothesized that molecules with more free electrons in their valence shell will be likely
have stronger London dispersion forces. An electron is most free when it is neither bound covalently nor in a lone
pair (and a lone pair is more free than a bound pair). Based on this, arranging the groups in order of lowest to
highest boiling points would go as follows:
Group 14 (Four bond pairs)
Group 15 (Three bond pairs, one lone pair)
Group 17 (One bond pair, three lone pairs)
Group 16 (Two bond pairs, two lone pairs, one free electron)

Analysis
(b) Complete a graph of the evidence by plotting boiling point versus number of electrons per molecule. (you may use
excel or graph paper) 10 marks
See page 3.
(c) Answer the Question.
What is the trend in boiling points of the hydrogen compounds of elements in groups 1417 (Table 1)?
STATE THE THREE EXCEPTIONS
4 marks
In general, boiling points of hydrogen compounds within a group increase with number of electrons. H2O, NH3, and HF are
exceptions to this trend and have unusually high boiling points.

Evidence
Table 1 Boiling Points of the Hydrogen Compounds of Elements
in Groups 1417
Group

Hydrogen compound

Boiling point (C)

# electrons per molecule

14

CH4(g)

162

10

SiH4(g)

112

18

GeH4(g)

89

36

SnH4(g)

52

54

NH3(g)

33

10

PH3(g)

87

18

AsH3(g)

55

36

SbH3(g)

17

54

H2O(l)

100

10

H2S(g)

61

18

H2Se(g)

42

36

H2Te(g)

54

HF(g)

20

10

HCl(g)

85

18

HBr(g)

67

36

HI(g)

36

54

15

16

17

Evaluation
(d) Assuming that the evidence is valid, evaluate the Prediction and the concept of intermolecular forces used to make
the prediction. (Mention the percentage of data that followed your prediction.) 2 marks
16 different compounds were examined, and 13 followed the prediction, so 81% of the data matched the prediction,
making the prediction fairly accurate. Thus, it is fairly accurate to predict the boiling points of various compounds
based on the strength of the London dispersion forces between those compounds.
(e) Are there any anomalies (unexpected evidence) in the evidence presented? Suggest an explanation. This is where
you can talk about the three exceptions mentioned in (c ) and give a reason. 2 marks
H2O, NH3, and HF have unusually high boiling points given the number of electrons they have. This can be explained by
hydrogen bonding. O, N and F are all extremely electronegative, and create polar molecules when bound to hydrogen. The
hydrogen bonds formed between these molecules are much stronger than London dispersion forces, resulting in the very
high boiling points.

Grou
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