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Repulsion and attraction between atoms

  1. Mar 23, 2014 #1
    Why do atoms repel when they are close to each other and react when they are far from each other??
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 23, 2014 #2


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  4. Mar 23, 2014 #3
    Atoms are electrically neutral from far away. However, when you (pretend you are another, cognizant atom) get close to one, you are much closer to the electrons (-) than the protons (+). This means that you and the other atom will repel each other.

    However, if the atom is missing 1 valence electron to complete its outer 'surface' and you happen to have one too many valence electrons (one of your electrons is further/popped out than all the others), then you two can marry (form a covalent bond) and live happily ever after. You will even produce a baby immediately (the energy/heat/information exchange with the environment when the covalent bond forms).

    I know this is all very crude. I hope it helps visualize what's going on and please excuse my terrible humour.
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