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Methanol has the larger at room temperature because it has a lower molecular weight when compared with ethanol, which implies it has weaker .
Both methanol (##”CH”_3″OH”##) and ethanol (##”CH”_3″CH”_2″OH”##) have the capacity to form because of the ##”-OH”## group, so from this standpoint there is no difference between the two.
However, the difference comes when the weaker London dispersion forces come into play. Ethanol has a molecular weight of ##”46 amu”##, while methanol has a molecular weight of ##”32 amu”##.
This difference in molecular weight means stronger London dispersion forces in favor of the heavier molecule – ethanol – which in turn translates into a lower vapor pressure.
As a result, the molecule that exhibits weaker intermolecular forces – methanol – will have the higher vapor pressure.
Ethanol’s vapor pressure at ##20^@C## is ##”5.95 kPa”##, while methanol’s vapor pressure at the same temperature is ##”12.8 kPa”##.
Check out this answer on the topic of vapor pressure and intermolecular forces:
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