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perhaps anyone could explain how this is possible?
I understand that because, acetic acid is in the gaseous state, the molecules are free from any intermolecular forces. so clearly some sort of reaction must have occurred, perhaps dimerzation?
Interesting, apparently in solid and gas phase acetic acid tends to dimerize, but in liquid phase it occurs less often if there are hydrogen bonding solvents. I didn't really read much past this section "Structure" https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acetic_acid#Structure
They also have a nice picture of what he dimer looks like: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/be/Acetic_Acid_Hydrogenbridge_V.1.svg
Pretty interesting, also good idea on the dimer thing.