We are being asked to explain the higher boiling point of butane than 2-methylpropane
Compounds with strong intermolecular forces have high boiling points. This is because they require more energy to be able to break the bonds during the phase transition.
Butane and 2-methypropane are both nonpolar and have the same molecular formula
Recall that when comparing molecules with the same IMF:
▪ smaller molecular weight (smaller molecule) → smaller area of interaction → weaker IMF
Butane and 2-methylpropane, whose space-filling models are shown, are both nonpolar and have the same molecular formula, yet butane has the higher boiling point (-0.5 oC compared to -11.7 oC).
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