Molecular Solids: Definition and Examples

They tend to dissolve in organic solvents

A spoonful of sugar
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A molecular solid is a type of solid in which molecules are held together by van der Waals forces rather than by ionic or covalent bonds.

Properties

The dipole forces are weaker than ionic or covalent bonds. The relatively weak intermolecular forces cause molecular solids to have relatively low melting points, typically less than 300 degrees Celsius.

Molecular solids tend to dissolve in organic solvents. Most molecular solids are relatively soft electrical insulators with low density.

Examples

  • Water ice
  • Solid carbon dioxide
  • Sucrose, or table sugar
  • Hydrocarbons
  • Fullerenes
  • Sulfur
  • White phosphorus
  • Yellow arsenic
  • Solid halogens
  • Halogen compound with hydrogen (e.g., HCl)
  • Pnictogens (N2)
  • Light chalcogens (O2)
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Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "Molecular Solids: Definition and Examples." ThoughtCo, Aug. 27, 2020, thoughtco.com/molecular-solid-definition-and-examples-608341. Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. (2020, August 27). Molecular Solids: Definition and Examples. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/molecular-solid-definition-and-examples-608341 Helmenstine, Anne Marie, Ph.D. "Molecular Solids: Definition and Examples." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/molecular-solid-definition-and-examples-608341 (accessed March 5, 2021).