van der Waals' forces
or van der Waals forces
plural noun Physical Chemistry.
weak, nonspecific forces between molecules.
Read more in this article about some frequently asked questions and fun facts related to our definitions.
The Force at Work: Star Wars Words
Words for a galaxy far, far away… The conversations are flowing, and the debates are raging: Do we call Rogue One: A Star Wars Story a stand-alone? A spin-off? A prequel? An offshoot? A sequel? All of the above? Whether you’re a dedicated contributor to Wookieepedia or just proud of yourself for knowing what a Wookiee is, there are some great words at work in a galaxy …
Origin of van der Waals' forces
First recorded in 1925–30; see origin at van der Waals' equation
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
van der Waals force
[văn′ dər wôlz′, wälz′]
A weak attractive force between atoms or nonpolar molecules caused by an instantaneous dipole moment of one atom or molecule that induces a similar temporary dipole moment in adjacent atoms or molecules.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
van der Waals force
A weak force of attraction between electrically neutral molecules that collide with or pass very close to each other. The van der Waals force is caused by the attraction between electron-rich regions of one molecule and electron-poor regions of another (the attraction between the molecules seen as electric dipoles). The attraction is much weaker than a chemical bond. Van der Waals forces are the intermolecular forces that cause molecules to cohere in liquid and solid states of matter, and are responsible for surface tension and capillary action.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.