# What does atomic radius and ionic radius really mean to you?

Question:

Solution:

Atomic radius is the radius of an atom. It measures the size of an atom. If the element is a metal, then the atomic radius refers to the metallic radius, and if the element is a non-metal, then it refers to the covalent radius. Metallic radius is calculated as half the internuclear distance separating the metal cores in the metallic crystal. For example, the internuclear distance between two adjacent copper atoms in solid copper is 256 pm. Thus, the metallic radius of copper is

taken as $\frac{256}{2} \mathrm{pm}=128 \mathrm{pm}$

Covalent radius is measured as the distance between two atoms when they are found together by a single bond in a covalent molecule. For example, the

distance between two chlorine atoms in chlorine molecule is 198 pm. Thus, the covalent radius of chlorine is taken as

$\frac{198}{2} \mathrm{pm}=99 \mathrm{pm}$

Ionic radius means the radius of an ion (cation or anion). The ionic radii can be calculated by measuring the distances between the cations and anions in ionic crystals.

Since a cation is formed by removing an electron from an atom, the cation has fewer electrons than the parent atom resulting in an increase in the effective nuclear charge. Thus, a cation is smaller than the parent atom. For example, the ionic radius of ion is 95 pm, whereas the atomic radius of Na atom is 186 pm. On the other hand, an anion is larger in size than its parent atom. This is because an anion has the same nuclear charge, but more electrons than the parent atom resulting in an increased repulsion among the electrons and a decrease in the effective nuclear charge. For example, the ionic radius of F ion is 136 pm, whereas the atomic radius of F atom is 64 pm.