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ERIC Number: EJ1113956
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016-Sep
Pages: 5
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0021-9584
Do-It-Yourself: 3D Models of Hydrogenic Orbitals through 3D Printing
Griffith, Kaitlyn M.; de Cataldo, Riccardo; Fogarty, Keir H.
Journal of Chemical Education, v93 n9 p1586-1590 Sep 2016
Introductory chemistry students often have difficulty visualizing the 3-dimensional shapes of the hydrogenic electron orbitals without the aid of physical 3D models. Unfortunately, commercially available models can be quite expensive. 3D printing offers a solution for producing models of hydrogenic orbitals. 3D printing technology is widely available, and the cost of 3D printing "inks" is relatively low. Creation of models requires graphing electron orbital probability distributions in spherical coordinates and exporting as stereolithography (.stl) files (a common format for 3D printing). There is both freeware (CalcPlot3D), and license-requiring (Matlab, Mathematica, Maple) software capable of plotting orbital equations and exporting in the required format. The process of creating the orbitals is relatively simple, and the 3D printing methodology is cost-effective.
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: North Carolina
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A