How to Calculate the Radius of an Atom

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Calculating the radius of an atom is something that you need to do while thinking about crystals. Calculate the radius of an atom with help from an experienced math professional in this free video clip.

Part of the Video Series: Solving Math Problems
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Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Ryan Ault. I'm a physicist, and this is how to calculate the radius of an atom. Now one way you can do is think about solid state crystal and what's nice about these crystals is that if you translate certain distance in a certain direction say X , the X direction. So you go one angstrom which is you know 1 times 10 to the -10 meters and this pattern just keeps repeating. Now lets say we have a 2-dimensional crystal so it also repeats down in the Y direction. So each lattice sight that I'm drawing is composed of a collection of protons and neutrons and orbiting this collection is a bunch of electrons, okay. So what we find though using solid state physics is that the average distance form the center point of the electron is exactly half way between the 2 lattice sights, between the 2 collections of protons and neutrons and if we know this distance we can call it something like a. We know that the radius is actually a over 2. So if examine each one we find that the cloud of electrons is something kind of circular in fashion, okay, and the radius of it is simply a over 2. I'm Ryan Ault and this is how to calculate the radius of an atom.


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