Virtual and Printed 3D Models for Teaching Crystal Symmetry and Point Groups

Lluís Casas, Eugénia Estop

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

49 Citations (Scopus)


© 2015 The American Chemical Society and Division of Chemical Education, Inc. Both, virtual and printed 3D crystal models can help students and teachers deal with chemical education topics such as symmetry and point groups. In the present paper, two freely downloadable tools (interactive PDF files and a mobile app) are presented as examples of the application of 3D design to study point-symmetry. The use of 3D printing to produce tangible crystal models is also explored. A series of dissection puzzles that will be especially useful for teaching crystallographic concepts such as asymmetric unit and general/special positions is presented. Educators are encouraged to use the presented tools in their classes, and we expect our work to inspire other college educators to design and share similar tools.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1338-1343
JournalJournal of Chemical Education
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 5 May 2015


  • Chemoinformatics
  • Computer-Based Learning
  • Crystals/Crystallography
  • First-Year Undergraduate/General
  • General Public
  • Group Theory/Symmetry
  • Hands-On Learning/Manipulatives
  • Humor/Puzzles/Games
  • Materials Science


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