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ERIC Number: EJ1001188
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Jul
Pages: 4
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 14
ISSN: ISSN-0021-9584
An Example of Body-Centered Cubic Crystal Structure: The Atomium in Brussels as an Educative Tool for Introductory Materials Chemistry
Pinto, Gabriel
Journal of Chemical Education, v89 n7 p921-924 Jul 2012
When students are introduced to the ways in which atoms are arranged in crystal structures, transposing the textbook illustrations into three-dimensional structures is difficult for some of them. To facilitate this transition, this article describes an approach to the study of the structure of solids through a well-known monument, the Atomium in Brussels, Belgium. After a brief introduction to this monument (it represents an unit cell of iron crystal, magnified 165 billion times), a series of questions is proposed to address various topics such as crystal lattice, unit cell, body-centered cube structure, metallic crystals, typical trends for atomic radii in the periodic table, introductory solid structure calculations, and rounding in calculations. Furthermore, this exercise promotes spatial vision in students. The question-answer approach engages the students and most of them gain an appreciation for the three-dimensional structures. Students have expressed keen interest in this type of "tangible" chemistry where a concrete example of everyday life helps them to better understand chemistry topics. (Contains 4 figures.)
Division of Chemical Education, Inc and ACS Publications Division of the American Chemical Society. 1155 Sixteenth Street NW, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 800-227-5558; Tel: 202-872-4600; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Belgium