Visualization of Hyperconjugation and Subsequent Structural Distortions through 3D Printing of Crystal Structures


Farha J. Mithila, Stephanie Oyola-Reynoso, Martin M. Thuo and Manza B.J. AtkinsonPages 272-276 (5)


Background: Structural distortions due to hyperconjugation in organic molecules, like norbornenes, are well captured through X-ray crystallographic data, but are sometimes difficult to visualize especially for those applying chemical knowledge and are not chemists.

Methods: Crystal structure from the Cambridge database were downloaded and converted to .stI format. The structures were then printed at the desired scale using a 3D printer.

Results: Replicas of the crystal structures were accurately reproduced in scale and any resulting distortions were clearly visible from the macroscale models. Through space interactions or effect of through space hyperconjugation was illustrated through loss of symmetry or distortions thereof.

Conclusion: The norbornene structures exhibits distortion that cannot be observed through conventional ball and stick modelling kits. We show that 3D printed models derived from crystallographic data capture even subtle distortions in molecules. We translate such crystallographic data into scaled-up models through 3D printing.


3D printing, crystallography, hyperconjugation, modeling, norbornene, stereo-electronic.


Department of materials escience and engineering, Iowa State University, 2220A Hoover Hall, Ames, IA 50011, USA.

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