An effective radius assigned to an atom in a covalent compound. In the case of a simple diatomic molecule, the covalent radius is half the distance between the nuclei. Thus, in Cl2 the internuclear distance is 0.198 nm so the covalent radius is taken to be 0.099 nm. Covalent radii can also be calculated for multiple bonds; for instance, in the case of carbon the values are 0.077 nm for single bonds, 0.0665 nm for double bonds, and 0.0605 nm for triple bonds. The values of different covalent radii can sometimes be added to give internuclear distances. For example, the length of the bond in interhalogens (e.g. ClBr) is nearly equal to the sum of the covalent radii of the halogens involved. This, however, is not always true because of other effects (e.g. ionic contributions to the bonding).
Subjects: Earth Sciences and Geography — Chemistry.