Basic question on atomic forces

  • #1
I'm reading my coursework (Gen Chem) and I just have a question that hasn't really been answered.
So, when you have a collection of atoms taking visible form, like with Sulfur for example, the atoms are held together simply because they're close together, which I think is the principle of VDW forces. Right? But where does it stop being, the atoms being held together, and start being, you can break apart a clump of sulfur particles by touching it simply because it's nonmetallic? When does a clump of sulfur atoms get big enough to where you can just break a group of them apart with your finger? What's the distinction? I asked my friend who recently got his BS in Chemistry and he couldn't really give me answer.
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
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The type of bond in a solid depends on the material, sulfur typically (not always) forms rings with covalent bonds and these rings connect to each other with vdW forces.

You can split a collection of two rings if you have a tool that is fine enough. There is no dividing line, your fingers are simply not sharp enough to break (or even handle) such a small amount of sulfur.
 

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