Adsorbed low molecular weight charged molecules are known to give rise to a range of surface forces that affect the rheological behavior of oxide dispersions. The behavior of dicarboxylic acid bolaform compounds in alumina slurry was investigated to determine the influence of the molecular structure on the nanoscale interactions between alumina surfaces and on the macroscopic properties of the slurry. The surface forces in dispersions and between a single particle and a flat surface were characterized by yield stress and atomic force microscopy (AFM) respectively. Absorbed muconic acid increased the yield stress of the alumina system, which indicates an additional attractive interaction between the particles. Adsorbed trans,trans (TT) muconic acid resulted in a much higher yield stress than cis,cis (CC) muconic acid. Force−distance data obtained via AFM displayed features indicating the presence of a capillary force attraction at low pH between the alumina surfaces when TT and CC muconic acids were adsorbed at high surface coverage. This force appeared to explain the high yield stress at low pH (pH 3.6), but the absence of a net attractive force at higher pH (pH 5) did not correlate with the yield stress results. At low pH, the muconic acids become less soluble in the confined space between the interacting surfaces resulting in the formation of an “oily” muconic acid phase located between the interacting surfaces. The nanosized “oil” phase is the source of the capillary force.