Atomic Packing Factor

In crystallography, atomic packing factor (APF) or packing fraction is the fraction of volume in a crystal structure that is occupied by atoms. It is dimensionless and always less than unity. For practical purposes, the APF of a crystal structure is determined by assuming that atoms are rigid spheres. The radius of the spheres is taken to be the maximal value such that the atoms do not overlap. For one-component crystals (those that contain only one type of atom), the APF is represented mathematically by

where Natoms is the number of atoms in the unit cell, Vatom is the volume of an atom, and Vunit cell is the volume occupied by the unit cell. It can be proven mathematically that for one-component structures, the most dense arrangement of atoms has an APF of about 0.74. In reality, this number can be higher due to specific intermolecular factors. For multiple-component structures, the APF can exceed 0.74.

Read more about Atomic Packing Factor:  APF of Common Structures

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