What is atomic radius?

1 Answer
Jan 13, 2018

It is a way of measuring the size of an atom.


The radius of a circle is the measure of a straight line drawn from a point on the circumference of the circle to the center of the circle.

Similarly, in an atom, the atomic radius measures the distance from the center of the nucleus, to the edge of the atom. The only problem is, atoms do not have clearly defined borders, since the exact position of electrons in an atom is impossible to tell, which is proven by the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. More on that here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uncertainty_principle

There are various ways of measuring atomic radius due to this issue, and a few are:

  • Vander Waals Radius
  • Ionic Radius
  • Covalent Radius
  • Metallic Radius