Carlsson, Anders E. Department of Physics, Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri.
- Attractive forces
- Repulsive forces
- Variations between materials
- Weakening of attractive forces
- Links to Primary Literature
- Additional Readings
The tendency of atoms or molecules to coalesce into extended condensed states. This tendency is practically universal. In all but exceptional cases, condensation occurs if the temperature is sufficiently low; at higher temperatures, the thermal motions of the constituents increase, and eventually the solid assumes gaseous form. The cohesive energy is the work required to separate the condensed phase into its constituents or, equivalently, the amount by which the energy of the condensed state is lower than that of the isolated constituents. The science of cohesion is the study of the physical origins and manifestations of the forces causing cohesion, as well as those op-posing it. It is thus closely related to the science of chemical bonding in molecules, which treats small collections of atoms rather than extended systems. See also: Chemical bonding; Intermolecular forces
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