Atomic Radii

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The radius of an atomic of a chemical element is a measure of the atom's size. The meaning of it is said as the typical distance which is from the center of the nucleus till the boundary of the atom which is surrounding the electrons. There are three widely used definitions which are used for atomic radius:they are the  ionic radius, Van der Waals radius, and covalent radius.

According to the definition these terms may be applied only to isolated atoms in condensed matter as well covalently which have bonding in molecules or even within ionized and excited states as well. And its value can also be obtained by the experimental measurements, or computed from models of theory. The radius value can even depend on the atom's state.

It is said that the electrons do not have definite orbits or sharply defined ranges. The position of the molecules can be described as probability which has distributions that gradually taper off as one that moves away from the nucleus. And that too without a sharp cutoff. In condensed molecules and matter the cloud of electrons of the atoms usually overlap to some extent, and some of the electrons can even roam over a large region encompassing two or even more atoms.

In most of the definitions of the radii of isolated atoms which are neutral atoms range between 30 and 300 pm  that is trillionths. Or even between 0.3 and 3 ångströms. The radius of atoms is more than 10,000 times the radius of its nucleus that is 1–10 pm and less than 1/1000 of the wavelength of visible light that is 400–700 nm.

Covalent Radius 

Here letter r covalent is defined as =  ½  that is internuclear distance between two bonded atoms. The distance of internuclear distance which is between two bonded atoms is called the bond length. 

Van Der Waals Radius

It is one the distance which is half the distance between the nuclei of two similar non-bonded isolated atoms or even two adjacent identical atoms belonging to two neighboring molecules of an element which are in the solid-state. The weakest forces which are also known as the van der wall magnitude of the radius are dependent on the packing of the atoms when the element is in the solid-state.

example of the internuclear that is the distance which is between two adjacent atoms of chlorine in the solid-state which is 360 pm. So the Van der Waals radius of the chlorine atom is said to be 180 pm.

Metallic Radius

A crystal contains positive kernel ions which are arranged in a pattern which is definite in a sea of mobile electrons which are valence.The force of attraction which is between electrons that are basically mobile and the positive kernels is also called as the metallic bond. It is said to be one of the half internuclear distances which is between the two adjacent metal ions in the lattice metallic. In a metallic lattice the valence electrons are mobile or we can say they are free to move  therefore they are only weakly attracted by the metal ions or kernels.

In a bond like covalent bond there is a pair of electrons which is strongly attracted by the nuclei of two atoms. That is why a metallic radius is always longer than its covalent radius. 


The shells which are present are generally  filled in order of radius which is increasing since the negatively charged electrons are attracted by the positively charged protons in the nucleus. The additional electrons go into the same shell which is the outermost shell whose radius contracts graduall. And this happens mostly due to the increasing nuclear charge. In a noble gas if we keenly observe the outermost shell is completely filled and therefore the additional electron of the next alkali metal will go into the next outer shell. For the increase in the atomic radius.

This is which explains why the size of atoms which usually increases down each column. There is one notable exception for this and is known as the lanthanide contraction that is the 5d block of elements which are much smaller than one would expect which is due to the weak shielding of the 4f electrons.


The Difference between experimental and empirical and data: Empirical data basically means that they are originating  or we can say they are based on observation or experience" that are relying on observation or experience alone often without due regard for system and theory data". It is basically meaning that we measure it through physical observation and a lot of experiments which are generating the same results.the note that the values are not calculated by a formula. But, often the empirical results then become an equation of estimation. Experimental data which are on the other hand are only based on theories.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q1. How can we find radii of Atoms?

Ans: The atom of radius can be found by measuring a distance which is between the two nuclei of two touching atoms.

Q2. What is the unit of radii of an Atom?

Ans: The radius of an atom can be defined as the distance which is between the two atomic nuclei which is known as the diatomic nuclei. For elements the atomic radius is measured. The unit of the radius is equal to 10−12 meters.

Q3. What are the factors which affect the radius of an Atom?

Ans: The number of atomic shells the atomic size increases in the number of shells of electrons. The nuclear charge increases the atomic radius on the outermost electron.

Q4. Explain what does one mean by Atomic Radii?

Ans: The Atomic radius or The radius of an atom. This is defined as the distance between an atom's nucleus and outer shell of electron. This whole thing is not a fixed entity so there are numerous definitions of this atomic nuclei term which is depending upon the measurement which is used.