Problem: Stabilization of an emulsion of oil in water by stearate ions.Which kind of intermolecular force attracts the stearate ion to the oil drop?

FREE Expert Solution

We’re being asked to identify the intermolecular forces present in each compound. Recall that there are several types of intermolecular forces:

1. Ion-dipole interaction – occurs between an ion and a polar covalent compound

2. Hydrogen bonding – occurs in compounds where hydrogen is directly connected to an electronegative element such as N, O, or F

3. Dipole-dipole interaction – occurs between two polar covalent compounds

4. Induced-dipole interaction – occurs when a nonpolar compound interacts with a polar compound

5. Dispersion forces – occurs in all compounds. This is the primary intermolecular force exhibited by nonpolar compounds.


We need to determine what kind of intermolecular forces are present in an oil droplet and the stearate ion.

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Problem Details

A diagram shows a round oil droplet ion in water. The oil droplet is composed of a ring of stearate ions that consist of a long hydrophobic end (a hydrocarbon chain) and a hydrophilic end (COO-). The stearate ions are arranged in the oil droplet so that the COO- ends face water and the hydrophobic ends are inside the droplet, away from water. Na+ is attracted to the COO- ends of the oil droplet.
Stabilization of an emulsion of oil in water by stearate ions.

Which kind of intermolecular force attracts the stearate ion to the oil drop?

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What scientific concept do you need to know in order to solve this problem?

Our tutors have indicated that to solve this problem you will need to apply the Intermolecular Forces concept. You can view video lessons to learn Intermolecular Forces. Or if you need more Intermolecular Forces practice, you can also practice Intermolecular Forces practice problems.

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Based on our data, we think this problem is relevant for Professor Gracia-Nava's class at UNR.