Submitted by Adam Bridgeman / The University of Sydney on Tue, 07/07/2009 - 04:01
My Notes
Course Level
Topics Covered

JMol site how common inorganic structures are built from the filling of interstitial sites in CCP and HCP lattices.

The site is used as post-work for a hands-on lab about packing (

Learning Goals

A student should be able to:

  • explain the difference between CCP and HCP packing
  • see how many crystal structures can be built from these arrangements by different filling of the interstitial sites
Equipment needs
Jmol requires a Java - enabled browser.
Implementation Notes

There is a post-work quiz associated with the activity (see "questions" tab on website) which students complete as part of the lab mark.

Time Required
45 - 60 minutes


Evaluation Methods
Evaluation via post-work quiz
Creative Commons License
Hilary Eppley / DePauw University
I am very interested in the virtual reality parts of the website but I after poking around a bit I couldn't seem to find a plug in that works with the Mac. Any suggestions?
Thu, 07/09/2009 - 14:55 Permalink
Mihaela / William Paterson


Can somebody kindly tell me where can I purchase crystal structure models that are affordable and friendly to use for students in class?  Thank you in advance.  Mihaela

Sat, 01/08/2011 - 12:37 Permalink
Maggie Geselbracht / Reed College


My preferred model kit to use in class is the ICE Solid State Model Kit.  It is easy to learn to use and builds a large number of close-packed and common inorganic crystal structures.  Here is the URL that shows a photo of a typical kit.

I am not sure how affordable these are now.  They are sold through the Institute of Chemical Education at the University of Wisconsin.  A long time ago now (time flies), I purchased 12 of these for the department and have used them in both Inorganic and General Chemistry.  Works best to have groups of 4 students working with 2 kits as I have students build 2 structures or 2 views of a structure and compare them side-by-side.  Joanne Stewart posted a learning object based on these kits on VIPEr and your question reminds me that I should probably put up versions of what I have done with them as well.

ICE also sells a polyhedral model kit (scroll to the bottom of this linked page) that takes a slightly different approach to assembling the structures (polyhedral units vs. packed spheres).  I have a set that I use in class to illustrate structures, but I have never had the students work with these.  Another VIPEr user, Mike Condren, has posted a link to the online manual for this kit that has great Jmol animations of different crystal structures.  These animations could be used on their own, too!

Hope that is helpful!  I am curious if anyone else has any recommendations.

Tue, 01/18/2011 - 03:07 Permalink
Maggie Geselbracht / Reed College

Adam, I just want to thank you again for these great animations and Jmol models!  I went looking for the link to post to my Moodle course page after my students did some 3-D modeling with the ICE Model Kits.  After reviewing your resources again, I realized I already had the link on my Moodle.  Doh!  And Hilary, I didn't have any problems with the Jmol models, so I don't think you need to worry about the plug-ins for VRML as long as you have Java on your computer.

I noticed I had never rated this resource.  I am definitely giving this one 5 d-orbitals!!  How many of you VIPEr users rate the learning objects you find on the site?  Choose 1-5 d-orbitals (right above where the Comments begin) to rate something!

Fri, 02/11/2011 - 01:38 Permalink