'Stability of a crystal is reflected in the magnitude of its melting point'. Comment. Collect melting points of solid water, ethyl alcohol, diethyl ether and methane from a data book. What can you say about the intermolecular forces between these molecules?
Higher the melting point, greater is the intermolecular force of attraction and greater is the stability. A substance with higher melting point is more stable than a substance with lower melting point.
The melting points of the given substances are:
Solid water → 273 K
Ethyl alcohol → 158.8 K
Diethyl ether → 156.85 K
Methane → 89.34 K
Now, on observing the values of the melting points, it can be said that among the given substances, the intermolecular force in solid water is the strongest and that in methane is the weakest.
Higher the melting point, greater are the forces holding the constituent particles together and thus greater is the stability of a crystal. Melting points of given substances are following. Water = 273 K, Ethyl alcohol = 155.7 K, Diethylether = 156.8 K, Methane = 90.5 K.
The intermoleoilar forces present in case of water and ethyl alcohol are mainly due to the hydrogen bonding which is responsible for their high melting points. Hydrogen bonding is stronger in case of water than ethyl alcohol and hence water has higher melting point then ethyl alcohol. Dipole-dipole interactions are present in case of diethylether. The only forces present in case of methane is the weak van der Waal’s forces (or London dispersion forces).
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