Problem: Arrange the alcohols in order of decreasing surface tension.CH3CH2OHCH3OHCH3CH2CH2CH2OHCH3CH2CH2OH

FREE Expert Solution

We’re asked to determine which of the compounds shown has the highest surface tension at a given temperature.


Surface tension is a physical property where the molecules in the surface of a liquid are pulled inward, and it's the result of Intermolecular forces.


There are 5 major types of intermolecular forces, ordered from the strongest to the weakest as follows:

  • Ion-dipole: is the force that exists between an ion and a polar compound.
  • Hydrogen bonding: is the force that exists when H is directly connected to F, O, or N. It acts as an attraction between H and other electronegative species.
  • Dipole-dipole: is the force that exists when two polar covalent compounds interact.
  • Dipole/Induced-dipole: is the force that exists when a nonpolar covalent compound interacts with a polar covalent compound.
  • London-dispersion: is the force that exists when two nonpolar covalent compounds interact.


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Problem Details

Arrange the alcohols in order of decreasing surface tension.
CH3CH2OH
CH3OH
CH3CH2CH2CH2OH
CH3CH2CH2OH

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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 and Physical Properties concept. If you need more Intermolecular Forces and Physical Properties practice, you can also practice Intermolecular Forces and Physical Properties practice problems.

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