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effective atomic number

number that represents the total number of electrons surrounding the nucleus of a metal atom in a metal complex. It is composed of the metal atom's electrons and the bonding electrons from the surrounding electron-donating atoms and molecules. Thus the effective atomic number of the cobalt atom in the complex [Co(NH3)6]3+ is 36, the sum of the number of electrons in the trivalent cobalt ion (24) and the number of bonding electrons from six surrounding ammonia molecules, each of which contributes an electron pair (2 6 =12).

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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