Because the dielectric constant is in the denominator and

the dielectric constant of water at room temperature is about 80.

[SOUND] We'll be dividing whatever is in the enumerator

by a factor of 80 times the distance squared.

That means that the force of attraction between ions in water is low relative to

what that force of attraction would be in a lower dielectric medium.

For example, air has a dielectric constant of about one,

and even some other liquid solvents like some hexane or

some carbon disulphide have relatively low dielectric constant.

Carbon disulfide has a dielectric constant of only 2.6, which is a lot lower than 80.

Now let's look at the numerator.

If the charges, q1 and

q2 are small in magnitude, in other words, if their absolute value is one,

then we expect the force of attraction to also be relatively small.

If we increase the magnitude of the charges, for example, if we go from

plus one for an alkaline metal to plus two for an alkaline earth metal, or

plus thre for aluminum, for example, then the force of attraction becomes stronger.