Problem: For each of the following sets, indicate the substance with the highest boiling point: a) C2H6, C8H18, or C4H10 b) HF, HCl, or HBrc) CH3—O—CH3 or CH2—CH2—O—H d) H2O, C3H8, or MgOe) CH3—CH2—CH3 or CH3—O—CH3f) Cs or CH3—O—H

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Boiling Point and Intermolecular Forces

stronger IMF → molecules are strongly held together
more energy is required to break them apart → higher temperature required
▪ therefore:    higher boiling (↑ BP)  stronger IMF (↑ IMF)


a) C2H6, C8H18, or C4H10 

 all of them contains carbon and hydrogen only (hydrocarbons) → they are all nonpolar covalent compounds
London-Dispersion forces (LDF)

 smaller molecular weight (smaller molecule) → smaller area of interaction → weaker IMF

C8H18 → largest MW → strongest London-dispersion forces

C8H18 → highest boiling point



b) HF, HCl, or HBr

• F, Cl, Br → halogens → more electronegative than H → polar molecules

• However, HF can exhibit hydrogen bonding → strongest IMF

HF → highest boiling point



c) CH3—O—CH3 or CH2—CH2—O—H 

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Problem Details

For each of the following sets, indicate the substance with the highest boiling point: 

a) C2H6, C8H18, or C4H10 

b) HF, HCl, or HBr

c) CH3—O—CH3 or CH2—CH2—O—H 

d) H2O, C3H8, or MgO

e) CH3—CH2—CH3 or CH3—O—CH3

f) Cs or CH3—O—H

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