Problem: Throughout this textbook, we use space-filling molecular models to represent molecules. Which number is the best estimate for the scaling factor used in these models? In other words, by approximately what number would you have to multiply the radius of an actual oxygen atom to get the radius of the sphere used to represent the oxygen atom in the water molecule shown.

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atomic radii have hundreds of picometers

spheres in space-filling molecular structures have radii centimeter 


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Space filling molecular model showing a central red sphere overlapping two gray spheres.

Throughout this textbook, we use space-filling molecular models to represent molecules. Which number is the best estimate for the scaling factor used in these models? In other words, by approximately what number would you have to multiply the radius of an actual oxygen atom to get the radius of the sphere used to represent the oxygen atom in the water molecule shown.