What is the difference between intermolecular bonds and intramolecular bonds?

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mlsiasebs's profile pic

mlsiasebs | College Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

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Intramolecular bonds are the bonds which hold atoms together in a molecule such as the covalent bonds in CO2.  These bond are very strong relative to intermolecular bonds which are more appropriately called intermolecularforces.  The intermolecular forces (IMF) are generally much weaker than bonds.  All molecules, ions, and atoms have these forces but the strength of them is much less than that seen in bonds.  But the strength of the IMFs varies greatly with the type of molecule (polar vs. non-polar) and the presence of certain groups, such as hydrogen.

We can have dispersion forces (present in all molecules because they are due to the presence of electrons), dipole-dipole forces, (present in polar molecules), and hydrogen bonding.  Hydrogen bonding is a special class of dipole forces because it exists between a hydrogen atom attached to a F, O, or N and the lone pair of a F, O, or N on a neighboring molecule. 

phantasm921's profile pic

phantasm921 | Student | (Level 1) Honors

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Intramolecular bonds are bonds which exist within a molecule, salt, or metal. These bonds are generally stronger than the intermolecular bonds which exist between molecules.


Intermolecular bonds are bonds which exist between molecules. This can also be called an intermolecular force. It is the force that exists between two molecules

acompanioninthetardis's profile pic

acompanioninthetardis | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Valedictorian

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intramolecular bonds are bonds that occur within the molecule, whereas intermolecular bonds are bonds that occur between two molecules. 

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