Definition of van der Waals forces in English:

van der Waals forces

Syllabification: van der Waals forc·es
Pronunciation: /ˈvan dər ˌwôlz, -ˌvälz


Weak, short-range electrostatic attractive forces between uncharged molecules, arising from the interaction of permanent or transient electric dipole moments.
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • The van der Waals force is long range, attractive, and relatively weak.
  • His team discovered that van der Waals force helps the gecko's feet stick.


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

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