Metallic Bond - Metallic Radius

Metallic Radius

Metallic radius is defined as one-half of the distance between the two adjacent metal ions in the metallic lattice. This radius depends on the nature of the atom as well as its environment, to be specific on the coordination number (CN), which in turn depends on the temperature and applied pressure.

When comparing periodic trends in the size of atoms it is often desirable to apply so-called Goldschmidt correction, which converts the radii to the values the atoms would have if they were 12-coordinated. Since metallic radii are always biggest for the highest coordination number, correction for less dense coordinations involves dividing by x, where 0 < x < 1. Specifically, for CN = 4, x = 0.88; for CN = 6, x = 0.96, and for CN = 8, x = 0.97. The correction is named after Victor Goldschmidt who obtained the numerical values quoted above.

The radii follow general periodic trends: they decrease across the period due to increase in the effective nuclear charge, which is not offset by the increased number of valence electrons. The radii also increase down the group due to increase in principal quantum number. Between rows 3 and 4, the lanthanide contraction is observed – there is very little increase of the radius down the group due to the presence of poorly shielding f orbitals.

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