# 2 slow moving hydrogen atoms - distance to start interaction

At what distance do 2 hydrogen atoms (not ions) begin to attract each other?

No, this is not a homework question. I am 58.

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alxm
Well, in theory there's no distance where that begins or ends; they attract at all distances since the electromagnetic force works at all distances.
But the attraction drops off rapidly; in proportion to 1/r^6, where r is the distance.

Guess I should have specified at what distance would acceleration be observed?
I'm assuming the 2 hydrogen atoms will form a molecule at the end of the cycle.

Staff Emeritus
2019 Award
That depends on how small an acceleration you can measure.

That depends on how small an acceleration you can measure.
Not sure. How about 1 m/s^2

edguy99
Gold Member
Well, in theory there's no distance where that begins or ends; they attract at all distances since the electromagnetic force works at all distances.
But the attraction drops off rapidly; in proportion to 1/r^6, where r is the distance.
Do you know any online references for the 1/r^6 calculation? Thanks