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Chap 12

Chap 12

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Published by: Tricia Nguyen on Feb 14, 2012
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Why does HBr have a higher boiling point than HCl?

The order of boiling points of the hydrogen halides is as follows: HF > HI > HBr > HCl. I understand that HF is higher than the rest because of hydrogen bonding that takes place in HF but does not in the others. What I do not understand is why the order of boiling points of the other 3 are HI > HBr > HCl. To me, the opposite would make sense (i.e. HCl > HBr > HI), based on the following logic: The electronegativity (EN) on hydrogen is 2.2. The ENs of Cl, Br and I are 3.2, 3.0, and 2.7, respectively. So the EN differences of the H-Cl, H-Br and H-I bonds are 1.0, 0.8, and 0.5, respectively. Therefore, each of these molecules are polar. However, as a greater EN difference means a greater polarity, the polarity of HCl will be greater than HBr, which in turn will be greater than HI.
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Now, my understanding is that the greater the polarity of the molecules of a substance, the greater the strength of the intermolecular forces between molecules of that substance, therefore the greater the energy required to break these intermolecular forces, therefore the greater the boiling and melting points of the substance. Consequently, the order or boiling points of HCl, HBr and HI should be HCl > HBr > HI. Now, I am aware that another type fo intermolecular force, the London dispersion force, is also present in these molecules. The London dispersion force involves the creation of an instantaneous dipole on an atom due to an uneven distribution of the electrons of the atom at any particular instant. I understand that the more electrons the atom has, the greater the strength of the instantaneous dipole, so the London force will be stronger on compounds with heavier elements (e.g. the London force in HI would be greater than in HBr).

5 years ago
So, to recap, as you go from HCl to HI, the molecules get less polar and thus the boiling point decreases. Also, as you go from HCl to HI, the molecules get bigger, the London forces increase in strength and thus the boiling point increases.

ps in celsius obtained from wikipedia: I2: 184 HI: -35 Br2: 58 HBr: -66 Cl2: -34 HCl: -85 from here you can observe that for the halogen molecules. a decrease in boiling point due to a decrease in polarity should have a greater effect on boling point than an increase in boiling point due to an increase in the London forces. I am told that the London forces are much weaker (about an order of magnitude weaker) than the dipole-dipole forces that cause attraction between polar molecules. . bps drop drastically due to an equally drastic fall in Mr and electron cloud size. how easily is this achieved? here are some b. Clearly there is a flaw in this logic as the order of boiling points is HI > HBr > HCl.HOWEVER. the current logic is that london forces may exceed the polar forces because Mr is allowed to increase greatly across many periods while electronegativity is limited to a small range on the Pauling scale. this is why the relatively tiny HF can disobey the entire trend(because it has that extra oomph) also. this is because instantaneous and permanent dipole interactions have little appreciable difference in strength when compared to other forces that also influence mp/bp like hydrogen. the closeness of strengths means that London forces can become stronger than permanent dipole forces within reasonable logic.Chosen by Asker you should know that London dispersion forces as well as dipole-dipole interactions between polar molecules are both termed as van der Waals forces in some chemistry environments. covalent or ionic bonds. the decrease is only slight. I willl give 10 points to the first person to satisfactorily point out the flaw in my logic and provide an explanation (going into details about intermolecular forces) as to why the order of boiling points is HI > HBr > HCl 5 years ago Dr Greg Best Answer . as you fgo from HCl to HBr to HI. however. SO. for the hydrogen halides. the boiling point should decrease. Thus.

. for example adding an additional bromine atom on a 1-bromomethane rather than merely changing 1-bromomethane to 1-chloromethane. thereby increasing electronegativity.the only way for polar forces to greatly exceed london forces woiuld be if the number of halogen atoms is allowed to increase.

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