Sunday, April 8, 2012

Tangent sphere model of ethane

Using beads, one can make a faithful representation of the so-called valence sphere model (VSM) or tangent sphere model for a molecule proposed by Prof. Henry Bent in the 60s. In this model, each valence electron pair in a molecule is represented by a sphere. Its diameter is determined by the de Broglie wavelength of the corresponding electron, λ = h/p, where p is its momentum and h is the Planck constant.

Here is the first bead VSM (BVSM) of ethane (C2H6) made by Qing Pang (龐晴) of the Taipei First-Girls High School (北一女). She used the so-called Windsor-knot technique (雙活結) to bind beads that are not parts of loops in a molecular graph. For simplicity, she used beads of the same size to build the BVSM of ethane. This is equivalent to making the assumption that all valence electrons have the same momentum. The paper below the bead model is from the manuscript entitled "Approximate Molecular Electron Density Profiles. I. Construction" that I got from Prof. Bent last month.
BTW, Prof. Bent has just published a new book entitled "Molecules and the chemical bond" which is the first book-length sequel of his early articles on tangent sphere model last year. If you want to know more about the tangent sphere model, you should read the book or the original articles published in J. Chem. Edu.
You can read parts of this book at the google book.

1. Bent, H. A. J. Chem. Edu. 1965, 40, 446.
2. Bent, H. A. J. Chem. Edu. 1965, 40, 523.
3. Bent, H. A. J. Chem. Edu. 1967, 42, 308.
4. Bent, H. A. J. Chem. Edu. 1967, 42, 348.
5. Bent, H. A. J. Chem. Edu. 1968, 44, 512.
6. Bent, H. A. J. Chem. Edu. 1967, 45, 768.

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