Since electron clouds keep atoms from touching because they repel, you might be tempted to think the universe should fly apart. Actually there is a push and pull, modeled by scientists as something called the Lennard-Jones potential.
When neutral atoms get very close their electron clouds repel each other. But they are also attracted to each other by something called van der Waals forces. This means there is a happy medium, a place of minimal energy, where they like to sit in relation to each other.

Since electron clouds keep atoms from touching because they repel, you might be tempted to think the universe should fly apart. Actually there is a push and pull, modeled by scientists as something called the Lennard-Jones potential.

When neutral atoms get very close their electron clouds repel each other. But they are also attracted to each other by something called van der Waals forces. This means there is a happy medium, a place of minimal energy, where they like to sit in relation to each other.