Hou-Hsun Ho and Bih-Yaw Jin

Undergraduate Student, Professor
Department of Chemistry, National Taiwan University
Taipei, Taiwan

Beading, a traditional craft, has been employed here to create aesthetically pleasing 3D sculptures inspired by molecules. A large variety of nanoscale objects, including fullerenes, graphitic structures, and zeolites can be systematically constructed with the standard beading technique, such as the figure-eight stitch. The resulting bead structure can be viewed as loose-packing of hard spheres with spatial positions arranged according to the corresponding chemical graph. For bead models of trivalent carbon structures, these beads in fact stand for valence electron pairs in the molecules, and the final equilibrium shapes are due to the balance between repulsions among beads and attractions generated by pre-stressed strings.

Carbon nanotubes Borromean rings
7 x 7 x 7 cm
3mm plastic beads

Inspired by the new IMU logo based on the tight Borromean rings designed by John Sullivan, this bead model represents the corresponding molecular analogue consisting of three Stadium-shape toroidal carbon nanotubes (TCNTs), each of which is an elongated torus with a pair of semi-circles positioned at opposite ends.

Dodecahedral polylink of six star-shaped toroidal carbon nanotubes
13 x 13 x 13 cm
3mm plastic beads

This tightly packed regular polylink consists of six star-pentagonal TCNTs lying on the six great circles of the corresponding icosidecahedron. The distribution of non-hexagons on each TCNT is carefully chosen in order to give five well-defined longitudes and roughly the same size of meridian cross sections along the whole cycle.