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The Chemical Educator

ISSN: 1430-4171 (electronic version)

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Abstract Volume 21 (2016) pp 10-12

Using 3D Printing to Model Steric Interactions

Cassandra Diaz-Allen, Paul A. Sibbald*

Department of Chemistry, Stetson University, DeLand, Florida 32723,
Received July 2, 2015. Accepted September 6, 2015.

Published: 15 January 2016

Abstract. An understanding of the effect that steric interactions have on reactivity and structural conformation is of vital importance in organic chemistry. However, visualizing the three-dimensional (3D) space that molecules occupy can be challenging. High-quality, space-filling molecular models created with 3D printing help to illustrate the effect that steric bulk has on reactivity and conformation when used in conjunctionwith computational chemistry software.

Key Words: Computers in Chemistry; conformational analysis; molecular models; hands-on learning; 3d printing. 

(*) Corresponding author. (E-mail:

Article in PDF format (44 KB) HTML format

Supporting Materials:

Detailed instructions for conversion of Gaussian MDL files to 3D printable STL files and the STL files for all 3D printed models in this paper are provided as supporting information. (132 KB).

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