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Question about dipoles

  1. Mar 27, 2014 #1
    Question about dipoles....

    What is the difference between a dipole in physics and a dipole in chemistry?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 27, 2014 #2

    Simon Bridge

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    None.
    Depends at what level you are doing it at though - I think physics teaches intrinsic dipoles and dipole models where the separation of charges tends to zero before chemistry does.
     
  4. Mar 27, 2014 #3

    ZapperZ

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    What brought up this question? Did you come across something that made you think that there might be a difference between the two?

    Zz.
     
  5. Mar 27, 2014 #4
    I am just curious, I really don't know much about dipoles and just started a little research on it because I keep coming across the word in my recent research into chemistry. Same with the word polar or polarity.
     
  6. Mar 27, 2014 #5

    Simon Bridge

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    Figured - the concepts can look different when you start learning about them because context is important to what gets taught.

    Note: you need to be careful about attaching too much importance to semantics in science - words often have odd uses because a label got stuck sometime in history. Concentrate on the principles behind the words.
     
  7. Mar 28, 2014 #6
    Dipoles in chemistry usually refer to polarized molecules, whereas in physics they sometimes are refering to idealized mathematical point dipoles.

    However, the concept is identicle - some charge distribution which deviates from spherical symmetry.
     
  8. Mar 28, 2014 #7

    Simon Bridge

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    Wow - that's creepy!
    dipole wrote exactly what my first response was...
     
  9. Mar 28, 2014 #8

    ZapperZ

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    Note that this may be true when dealing with the idealized and simplified situation in the learning of classical E&M. However, it isn't true in general. In condensed matter physics, we certainly deal with polarized molecules, etc., both electric and magnetic. One only need to look at the concept of polarons, introduced by Landau.

    Zz.
     
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