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ERIC Number: EJ943665
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Sep
Pages: 5
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0021-9584
A Unit Cell Laboratory Experiment: Marbles, Magnets, and Stacking Arrangements
Collins, David C.
Journal of Chemical Education, v88 n9 p1318-1322 Sep 2011
An undergraduate first-semester general chemistry laboratory experiment introducing face-centered, body-centered, and simple cubic unit cells is presented. Emphasis is placed on the stacking arrangement of solid spheres used to produce a particular unit cell. Marbles and spherical magnets are employed to prepare each stacking arrangement. Packing efficiency is calculated using simple measurements of marble or magnet diameters and the dimensions of the stacking arrangement. Edge effects are introduced. Packing efficiency is subsequently calculated for various metal samples employing density measurements and literature atomic radii values. The stacking arrangement for each metal and its corresponding unit cell are determined by comparing packing efficiency values. Estimated percent unoccupied space values for water and air are also determined. (Contains 10 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