Silicon is the second most abundant element on earth and is typically found in the form of sand, or silicon dioxide. For humans, silicon has a variety of useful purposes. It is a major component of glass and is also used in the formation of computer hardware. You can make a silicon atom model as a simple chemistry project. To make the project more complex, you can also make models of other atoms, such as oxygen, and use them to create models of compounds formed from silicon. Carbon is chemically similar to silicon, making a carbon model useful as well.
- Acrylic paints
- Small Styrofoam balls
- Thin dowel rods
- Scissors or craft knife
Try using hot glue to make the project proceed more quickly, as you will not need to wait as long for the glue to dry. Apart from sand, silicon is also found in many precious and semiprecious gems, such as quartz, amethyst or beryl. This is an appealing project for children who are learning about geology. If you want to make several atom models, the natural color of pure silicon is gray, so you may want to paint the model in shades of gray to distinguish it more easily from other model atoms.
Paint 14 Styrofoam balls one color and 14 another color. These are the protons and neutrons. Since silicon has so many protons and neutrons, it is a good idea to use small Styrofoam balls to keep the model at a manageable size.
Glue the Styrofoam balls together to form a ball, mixing the protons and neutrons. Use a plain white or craft glue. This is the nucleus of the atom.
Cut 14 thin dowel rods with scissors or a craft knife -- two short, eight medium and four long. Push the ends into the nucleus, distributing them evenly. If you want to use this model with other models of atoms to demonstrate how molecules form, you may want to use wire instead, which will be easier to repeatedly remove and put into different locations on the nucleus than a dowel rod.
Glue a pompom to each the end of each dowel rod. These are the electrons. The different lengths of the dowel rods put each pompom electron into its correct general orbit on the atom.
Make a small loop from wire and insert it into the nucleus. This addition will enable you to hang the model, if desired.
Things You'll Need
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