The completed buckyball model
A buckyball is a soccer-ball-shaped molecule made up of 60 carbon atoms. It’s also known as C60, or a buckminsterfullerene. Its shape is called a truncated icosahedron, and is made up of hexagons and pentagons. Researchers have developed applications for buckyball molecules in a wide range of fields from solar cells to medical treatments.
In this activity, you will build a paper model of a buckyball that will be about 8 cm across, but a real buckyball is only about 1 nm across – so your model will be about 80 million times bigger! The solid lines are carbon-carbon bonds, and the dark circles are carbon atoms.
What you need
- Paper and printer
- Printable template
- Glue stick or clear tape
What to do
- Print out the template.
- Carefully cut out the entire shape. The solid lines are for the carbon-carbon bonds, and the dotted lines are for tabs for assembly.
- Carefully fold along all the solid lines. Fold them so that the printed side of the paper is facing outward, and the folds go toward the back.
- Assemble using either a glue stick or clear tape.
Glue stick method: apply glue to the tabs inside the dotted lines one at a time, and stick them to adjacent paper faces so that the tabs end up on the inside of the buckyball.
Clear tape method: cut the tape into smaller pieces, and apply a piece of tape to a tab on the back, and attach to the adjacent paper faces so that the tabs end up on the inside of the buckyball.
- As your structure closes up, you may need to use clear tape on the outside of the structure to complete it.
Learn more about buckyballs: