Van der Waals surface

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A van der Waals' surface. Coloured according to charge, superimposed on a ball-and-stick model of the hydrogen sulfide molecule

Van der Waals surface area (abbreviated variously as vdWSA[citation needed], VSA, WSA), also van der Waals surface or van der Waals envelope (after Johannes Diderik van der Waals) is the imaginary surface of the union of spherical atom surfaces defined by the so-called van der Waals radius of each atom in the molecule representation. The van der Waals surface enclosed volume reference is molecular volume.

Both van der Waals surface and molecular volume are abstract representation of molecules, rather than "real" surfaces and volumes of molecules.

CPK models of molecules may actually picture the van der Waals surfaces, if based on van der Waals radii.

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