**SIMPLE CUBIC METAL**

**In a metal the atoms are all identical, and most are spherical (the
bonding does not depend on direction). Metals thus tend to adopt relatively
simple structures. The simplest is:**

*Click on the left unit cell above to explore it in VRML.*

**Here we see the two unit cells stacked to form the lattice.**

**Notice that in each case the same overall structure is found.**

*The VRML below will give you a feel for the overall lattice pattern.** Click on the image to explore it in VRML.*

**We can think of this lattice as layers of square packed spheres.
The layers are stacked so that each sphere is directly above the one in
the layer beneath.**

**Although we have shown space between the spheres, this is only to
"open up" the structure to view. In the real crystal, the spheres touch
as shown in the unit cell and lattice below.**

**Thus, the edge length of the cell is 2x the sphere radius.**

**In 3-D the packing efficiency is given by:
P.E. = (volume of spheres) / (volume of cell)**

**This low value is not suprising. Remember that a 2-D square lattice
uses space inefficiently. A simple cubic lattice is its 3-D analog, and
also contains much empty space.**

**Let us shift our attention to the empty spaces in the lattice. Each
unit cell contains one large interstitial site in its center (47.65% of
the volume). There are 8 atoms touching this space, so the interstitial
coordination number is 8, and its geometry is cubic (a
cube has 8 corners).**

**Examine the structure below which shows the arrangement about any
single atom in the simple cubic lattice; note that each atom has
6 neighbors, so the atomic coordination
number is 6. The coordination geometry is
octahedral (an octahedron has 6 corners).**

** Octahedral coordination of an atom.An
octahedron.**

**Since both the coordination number and packing efficiency are low,
a simple cubic lattice uses space inefficiently. Very few examples of simple
cubic lattices are known (alpha - polonium is one of the few known simple
cubic lattices).**

**Below we again see a section of the simple cubic lattice as it
"really" is - with the atoms touching one another. Note the channels
formed by the alignment of the interstitials. These empty spaces can allow
other small atoms to enter the crystal.**

*Click on the image to explore it in VRML.*

*Click here to go to the
next page.*

**Structure of Crystals**
**Crystal Lattices**
**Unit Cells**
**From Unit Cell to Lattice**
**From Lattice to Unit Cell**
**Stoichiometry**
**Packing & Geometry**
**Simple
Cubic Metals**
**Close Packed Structures**
**Body Centered Cubic**
**Cesium Chloride**
**Sodium Chloride**
**Rhenium Oxide**
**Niobium Oxide**

*Except as otherwise noted, all images, movies and
VRMLs are owned and copyright
by**Barbara L. Sauls and Frederick C. Sauls
2000.**Contact the owner for individual permission to
use. blsauls@kings.edu*