Intermolecular forces are mainly responsible for the physical characteristics of substances. Variation in intermolecular forces act between molecules depending on polarity, molecular mass and molecular geometry. The Dutch chemist Johannes van der Waals was the first scientist to study the weak forces between the molecules in molecular crystals. Forces between atoms within a molecule are termed as intramolecular forces and are responsible for chemical bonding.
On the other hand, a fuel cell is an electrochemical device (a galvanic cell) which converts free energy of a chemical reaction into electrical energy (electricity). The byproducts are heat and water or steam if hydrogen and air are the reactants in hydrogen fuel cells. The concept of fuel cell was proposed about 170 years ago when William Robert Grove conceived the first fuel cell in 1839, which produced water and electricity by supplying hydrogen and oxygen into sulfuric acid in the presence of platinum electrodes.
Types of Intermolecular Forces
Intermolecular forces exist between all molecules and atoms. Even the separate atoms of the noble gases can form liquids. Intermolecular forces are responsible for the existence of the liquid state of atoms and also govern the processes of mixing, dissolving and boiling.
There are three types of intermolecular forces.
- Dispersion forces – The London force is also called the dispersion force. The word dispersion here has nothing to do with the role of London force in colloidal dispersions, but it is the result of force which acts in the dispersion of light in the visible and ultraviolet wavelength.
- Dipole-dipole interactions – In polar molecules which have permanent dipole the van der Waals forces are mainly due to electrostatic interaction between the dipoles. The magnitude of this interaction depends upon the dipole moment of the molecules taking part in the interaction.
- Hydrogen bonding – Hydrogen bonding is a special form of dipole-dipole bonding. It occurs when a covalent bond is formed between a hydrogen atom and an atom of a very electronegative element such as nitrogen, oxygen and fluorine.
Advantages of Hydrogen Fuel Cell
A fuel cell has many similar characteristics with batteries, but also differs in many respects. The fuel cell is an energy conservation device that theoretically has the capability of producing electrical energy for as long as the fuel and oxidant are supplied to the electrodes. The lifetime of a primary battery is limited because when the amount of chemical reactions stored in a battery runs out, the battery stops producing electricity.
A fuel cell can supply electrical energy as long as fuel and oxidant are supplied. The amount of energy that can be produced is theoretically unlimited as long as the fuel and oxidant are supplied. Also no leakage occurs in a fuel cell and no corrosion of cell components occurs when the system is not in use.