Definition of van der Waals forces in English:

van der Waals forces

plural noun

Chemistry
  • Weak, short-range electrostatic attractive forces between uncharged molecules, arising from the interaction of permanent or transient electric dipole moments.

    • ‘His team discovered that van der Waals force helps the gecko's feet stick.’
    • ‘As the molecules are pushed closer together, the effects of small forces, such as van der Waals forces, become apparent.’
    • ‘The van der Waals force is long range, attractive, and relatively weak.’
    • ‘The molecules in paraffin wax, on the other hand, are only held together by weak van der Waals forces.’
    • ‘The basic idea of the experiment is to suddenly neutralize the layer, so that the attractive van der Waals force will press the bead against the slide.’

Origin

Late 19th century: named after Johannes van der Waals (1837–1923), Dutch physicist.

Pronunciation

van der Waals forces

/ˈvan dər ˌwôlz/