Forces in molecules
Chemistry is determined by the electrostatic forces acting within a collection of nuclei and electrons. The attraction of the nuclei for the electrons is the only attractive force in a molecule and is the force responsible for the bonding between atoms. This is the attractive force acting on the electrons in the Ehrenfest force and on the nuclei in the Feynman force, one that is countered by the repulsion between the electrons in the former and by the repulsion between the nuclei in the latter. The virial theorem relates these forces to the energy changes resulting from interactions between atoms. All bonding, as signified by the presence of a bond path, has a common origin in terms of the mechanics determined by the Ehrenfest, Feynman and virial theorems. This paper is concerned in particular with the mechanics of interaction encountered in what are classically described as ‘nonbonded interactions’—are atoms that ‘touch’ bonded or repelling one another?