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The Balloon Molecules
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From: http://www.balloonmolecules.com/

We would like to show you some of the balloon molecules we have built. The estimated time to build the molecule is given but advanced balloon sculptors will soon need less time. For most of these sculptures we also offer a detailed construction manual.

The tetrahedron

The tetrahedron is a often used body in chemistry. In this chosen presentation the central atom is located in the middle of the tetrahedron. The linkage partners lie at the corners, symbolised through the pinchtwists. This form of the tetrahedron can also be used very well in mathematics. The construction time takes about 5 to 10 minutes.

[Tetraeder]
Figure 1: A tetrahedron as it can be used in e.g. in maths lessons.

The octahedron

The octahedron is a fairly simple mathematical structure that could often be used as a visual element. In contrast to the other balloon sculptures that are shown here, these balloons, just like the tetrahedron, do not symbolise the electron clouds but the outer structure of the complex. The central atom can also be found in the middle of the octahedron. The construction time is about 10 to 20 minutes.

[Oktaeder 08] [Oktaeder 09] [Oktaeder 10]
Figures 2 to 4: An octahedron as it is e.g. used in maths lessons.

The Buckminster-Fullerene

A very complicated-looking molecule is the Buckminster-Fullerene, also known as C60. In this molecule all carbon atoms are sp2-hybridised. This means that three bubbles have to lead away from each knot. The free orbital is symbolised through a pinchtwist. The construction of this molecule out of balloons is not as difficult as it looks. With some practise the construction time takes only about 60 to 80 minutes.

[Fulleren 29]
Figure 5: The fullerene is a carbon modification that is often unknown to students.

The diamond

Another carbon modification is the diamond. In contrast to the carbon atoms of the Buckminster-Fullerene here the carbon atoms are all sp3-hybridised. That means that four bubbles lead away from one knot plane: therefore lots of tetrahedron knots are created as you can see very well in the last picture. The construction time is about one and a half to two hours. A construction manual is not yet available.

[Diamant 1] [Diamant 2] [Diamant 3]
Figures 6 to 8: The diamond is the most desired carbon modification.

The graphite lattice

The third carbon modification is graphite. Just as in the Buckminster-Fullerene all carbon atoms are sp2-hybridised. However, there are several layers that are kept together through a weak interaction. These are visualised through transparent balloons. The construction time for an advanced beginner takes about two to three hours the first time. The construction manual is still being put together and will be available soon.

[Graphit 1] [Graphit 2]
Figures 9 to 10: The graphite is the third carbon modification.

The faujasite

The faujasite is a very good example to use when showing the advantages balloon molecules have compared to pictures in a book. In the picture that is shown in Hollemann-Wiberg, only seven balls can be seen even though altogether ten exist (sodalith cage). On this page only pictures are shown, too, so that we have to face the same problem. The construction time for an advanced balloon sculptor takes about 3 to 4 hours. A construction manual would go beyond the aim of this page so we decided to refrain from putting one together.

[Faujasit 1] [Faujasit 2] [Faujasit 3]
Figures 11 to 13: The faujasite is needed rarely but it shows impressively what can be done with balloons.

Cuban cluster

The example of the Cuban cluster [Fe4(n5-C 5H5)43-CO)4] shows that you can build any molecule with some consideration: The iron atoms are located at the corners of the green tetrahedron, the orange-coloured Cyclopentadienyl-circles are penta-haptolinked to the iron atoms with the help of transparent balloons and the three-times-linking, black-red carbonyls are complexed through transparent balloons as well.

[Cubancluster]
Figure 14: This Cuban cluster shows that also new research steps can be quickly visualised.

DNA-Helix

This two-and-a-half-metre-model of the DNA-helix with a diameter of 1 metre shows that a lot is possible. If the PO4-units and the sugar are adjusted correctly, the helical structure will form without any pressure. For understandable reasons a construction manual is not available.

[DNA-Helix]
Figure 15: The motto of the DNA-helix-sculpture is "look and enjoy". Construction time: the first try (picture) took about ten hours.


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