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The Chemical Educator

ISSN: 1430-4171 (electronic version)

Table of Contents

Abstract Volume 23 (2018) pp 11-15

Simulation of Chemical Bonds Employing Simultaneous Attractive and Repulsive Forces of Neodymium Magnets

Samuel J. Gee, Jefferson E. Sanders, and David C. Collins*

Department of Chemistry, Brigham Young University—Idaho, 525 South Center Street, Rexburg, Idaho 83460, USA,
Received September 20, 2017. Accepted December 5, 2017.

Published: 12 January 2018

Abstract. At a general chemistry level, molecular bonds are often described as electrostatic interactions between nuclear protons and atomic electrons that result in a stable arrangement exhibiting a minimum potential energy. Employing this classical model for a general chemistry audience, instructors often conceptually explain a single chemical bond between two atoms (e.g., H2) by simply describing the associated attractive and repulsive electrostatic forces found between the two protons and two electrons of H2. Such a model is instructive at the introductory level and can facilitate an elementary understanding of bond formation, where the magnitudes of the electrostatic attractive and repulsive forces become “equal”. This work employs unique nested-magnet models exhibiting simultaneous attractive and repulsive magnetic forces to physically simulate simultaneous attractive and repulsive electrostatic forces. Although such physical models have many presented limitations, a discussion is offered for the construction and use of said models to facilitate comprehension and demonstration of bond length, bond strength, bond vibration, acid/base reactions, and nuclear fusion.

Key Words: Laboratories and Demonstrations; general chemistry; covalent bonding

(*) Corresponding author. (E-mail:

Article in PDF format (384 KB) HTML format

Supporting Materials:

Bond Length and Strength, Bond Vibration, Acid/base Reaction, and Nuclear Fusion are included in the supporting material file. (88 MB)

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