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Molecular solids are one of the four major types of solids you need to know about in AP chemistry. The others are ionic, metallic, and covalent network solids.

The Basics ⚛️

  • Molecular solids are made of molecules or atoms held together by intermolecular forces, not covalent bonds.
  • Take ice, for example. 
  • Sure, each individual molecule is held together by covalent bonds, but the actual solid is created by hydrogen bonds connecting the molecules to each other. 

Source: chemguide


  • Intermolecular forces are weaker than ionic or covalent bonds, so molecular solids are relatively soft and flexible.
  • This also means they tend to have low melting points.
  • They do not conduct electricity because electrons are localized within individual molecules. 
  • Polar molecular solids, like sugar, will be soluble in water. 
  • Keep in mind that the individual molecules don't break apart, only the intermolecular forces do!
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