Molecular models are a staple for teaching organic chemistry to students from high school to university and beyond. For others, they are considered an anachronism in today’s world of computing, especially with advances in virtual reality. While there is some truth to these viewpoints, physical models still have many other practical uses. Below we will describe four different uses.

Lattice Structure Molecular Models

Crystal lattices are everywhere. The most familiar are diamond, ice and silicon-based computer chips. There are thousands of different crystal types on Earth and their complexity and importance rival that of many organic compounds.

Alloys of titanium and gold are already used as biocompatible materials in artificial hip joints and the like. A new one, Ti3Au (beta titanium gold),  4 times stronger than other known alloys can be seen in the image below.1  

The increased strength is due in part shorter interatomic bonds which appear slightly bent or strained in the image. Unit molecular model atoms are the most versatile in showing structures like these but even these physical models aren’t perfect.

Beta-Titanium-Gold

Notice the slight bending in the bonds (blue). This indicates shorter interatomic distances which in turn produces much greater hardness in the alloy.

Photography Cropping Molecular Model Tool

Digital cameras are everywhere bringing out the wannabee photographer in all of us. Composition, the relative position of things in pictures, is still important, especially for product presentation. Most of us lack formal training in this but reshooting scenes are very cheap. Still, getting it right on the first few tries is important if time & money are at stake.

We created a very simple tool using molecular model parts. It consists of 4 octahedral atoms and lengths of bonds cut to length. We use one that has a 4:3 length to width ratio, the standard for most computer monitors, to frame product shots. You can also cut the bonds to match the 16:9 image ratio of high definition monitors & television. Use the smaller Minit octahedral atoms with 6mm centres which are less obtrusive than the 10mm Orbit ones. Cut the 210mm bonds for any ratio you want.

Use Minit octahedral atoms allow with the 210mm bonds which you can cut to length.

Use Minit octahedral atoms with the 210mm bonds which you can cut to length & create any size ratio you need.

Molecular Model Trophies

The picture below speaks for itself. We supplied molecular models of a drug called galeterone to a company that mounted them in display cases. The trophies in turn were handed out at an event celebrating a successful IPO (on Wall Street we believe).

Galeterone Structure Model

Galeterone is a new prostate cancer drug. The model structure itself is roughly 375mm (15″) long.

Graduation Gifts

Columbia University has been using our Molymod style molecular models for teaching & gifts since 2016. The image below shows students only AT & GC base pairs. More recent graduations have used structures including Afatinib & Vemurafenib.

Columbia University Chemistry Graduation Class Gifts

Columbia University MA in Biotechnology Program Graduation Class Party & Gifts

Organizational Theory

Customers ranging from bankers to the military have approached us asking how they could display the interconnections found in different hierarchies. In other words, who reports to whom. Relationships can be 1:1 or many to one to represent differing many command and reporting structures. Molecular models are an easy way to show this as seen in the image below.

Molecular models for organizational theory.

Molecular models for organizational theory.

Interestingly, the most flexible way to show such organizational patterns is with the same model style as shown in the first picture at the top. Unit style molecular models, designed for crystal structures, allow for many more connections than any other model design. Alternatively, you can make use the 8 coordinate & 12 coordinate Orbit atoms & cut the bond lengths as needed.

References

  1. High Hardness in Biocompatible Materials.
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