Crystal Models

This is a collection of thirteen models of crystal lattices suitable for display in the classroom. The models are made of painted wooden balls connected with wire. 

Curriculum Notes 

These models are useful whenever specific crystal geometries or even just the cystalline nature of solids are being discussed. These models can be passed around the classroom. This demo can take as much or as little time as you want.

Lead Time 
One day of lead time is required for this project.

Most solids exist in crystalline form such that their particles (atoms, ions, or molecules) are arranged in a regularly extended three-dimensional lattice. All textbooks are somewhat limited in that their representations of these lattices are perforce two-dimensional. These models really help some students to grasp the three-dimnsional nature of crystal lattices. 


You may choose any or all of the following models:

  • calcium carbonate (calcite - rhombohedral)
  • sodium sulfate (octahedral)
  • zinc sulfide (hexagonal) X3
  • aluminum (face-centered cubic)
  • magnesium (hexagonal close-packed)
  • sodium chloride
  • cadmium chloride
  • carbon dioxide
  • calcium titanate
  • carbon (diamond)
  • a generic triclinic crystal

Display the models in any way that fits your curriculum. 

Safety Precautions 

Don't drop them on your toe! 

© Copyright 2012 Email: Randy Sullivan, University of Oregon Chemistry Department and UO Libraries Interactive Media Group