Van der Waals radius

Size of an atom's imaginary sphere representing how close other atoms can get / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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The van der Waals radius, rw, of an atom is the radius of an imaginary hard sphere representing the distance of closest approach for another atom. It is named after Johannes Diderik van der Waals, winner of the 1910 Nobel Prize in Physics, as he was the first to recognise that atoms were not simply points and to demonstrate the physical consequences of their size through the van der Waals equation of state.

Table info: Element, radius (Å)...
van der Waals radii
Elementradius (Å)
Hydrogen1.2 (1.09)[1]
Carbon1.7
Nitrogen1.55
Oxygen1.52
Fluorine1.47
Phosphorus1.8
Sulfur1.8
Chlorine1.75
Copper1.4
van der Waals radii taken from
Bondi's compilation (1964).[2]
Values from other sources may
differ significantly (see text)
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