Discovery of the Compound Buckminsterfullerene

1044 Words5 Pages
Discovery of the Compound Buckminsterfullerene Once in a while there are discoveries of compounds which surprise the scientific community. In 1985 such a discovery took place; it was the discovery of the compound named Buckminsterfullerene. The compound was the first of its kind: a big 60-atom molecule resembling a soccer ball, composed of carbon, and arranged in a perfect geodesic sphere. This compound was unique in its nature because it was the first time carbon was observed in a very stable and solid three-dimensional structure. Prior to this discovery, carbon was not thought to behave in such a manner: carbon had always been thought to be most stable when arranged in two-dimensional sheets. The discovery of this new carbon molecule created a new curiosity that still lives today. Carbon atoms form buckminsterfullerene by making hexagons and pentagons that snap together into a hollow ball. A molecule with a shape like this is sure to have interesting properties, and it does indeed. Strength, stability, superconductivity, and biological harmlessness are some of the favorites. Buckminsterfullerene first gave scientists a hint of its presence in the early 1980's when tests on carbon soot from space showed inexplicable bumps on otherwise smooth graphs. Further tests involved a machine designed to produce clusters of atoms. The results were clear: carbon had a strong tendency to aggregate in groups of 60. More tests under different conditions put carbon 60 production virtually off the chart. The prominence of clusters of 60 carbon atoms suggested that this was a particularly stable number, but the form of this molecule was a mystery. Such stability meant no dangling bonds. One possibility was that carbon's usual hexa... ... middle of paper ... ...possibilities have not even been fully explored yet. Furthur tests and experiments continue to this day on how we can utilize buckyballs to aid and perform various tasks. One thing is for certain, Buckminsterfullerene holds potential for the future. Bibliography: Bibliography Discover v. 11, Sept. 1990, p. 52-9 “Fungal growth on buckminsterfullerene” Microbiology, v. 143, July 1997 p. 2097-8. “Buckyball transistor raises nanocomputing hopes”, New Scientist, v. 153, Mar. 30, 1997 p. 18. “Buckymedicine”, New Scientist, v. 155, Aug. 30, 1997 p. 18. “Buckyballs are a blast”, New Scientist, v. 156, Oct. 18, 1997 p. 23. “Materials Jamboree”, Science, v. 242, Nov. 25, 1988 p. 1139-45. “Polymer, buckyballs combat nerve damage”, Science News, v. 152, Aug. 23, 1997 p. 119. “Soccer-Ball Molecules in Space”, Sky and Telescope, v. 72, Apr. 1989 p. 358.

More about Discovery of the Compound Buckminsterfullerene

Open Document