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The most efficient way for equal sized spheres to be packed in three dimensions is to stack close packed layers on top of each other to give a close packed structure. There are two simple ways in which this can be done, resulting in either a hexagonal or cubic close packed structures.

Hexagonal close packed

If two close packed layers A and B are placed in contact with each other so as to maximize the density, then the spheres of layer B will rest in the hollow (vacancy) between three of the spheres in layer A. This is demonstrated in [link] . Atoms in the second layer, B (shaded light gray), may occupy one of two possible positions ( [link] a or b) but not both together or a mixture of each. If a third layer is placed on top of layer B such that it exactly covers layer A, subsequent placement of layers will result in the following sequence ...ABABAB.... This is known as hexagonal close packing or hcp .

Schematic representation of two close packed layers arranged in A (dark grey) and B (light grey) positions. The alternative stacking of the B layer is shown in (a) and (b).

The hexagonal close packed cell is a derivative of the hexagonal Bravais lattice system ( [link] ) with the addition of an atom inside the unit cell at the coordinates ( 1 / 3 , 2 / 3 , 1 / 2 ). The basal plane of the unit cell coincides with the close packed layers ( [link] ). In other words the close packed layer makes-up the {001} family of crystal planes.

A schematic projection of the basal plane of the hcp unit cell on the close packed layers.

The “packing fraction” in a hexagonal close packed cell is 74.05%; that is 74.05% of the total volume is occupied. The packing fraction or density is derived by assuming that each atom is a hard sphere in contact with its nearest neighbors. Determination of the packing fraction is accomplished by calculating the number of whole spheres per unit cell (2 in hcp), the volume occupied by these spheres, and a comparison with the total volume of a unit cell. The number gives an idea of how “open” or filled a structure is. By comparison, the packing fraction for body-centered cubic ( [link] ) is 68% and for diamond cubic (an important semiconductor structure to be described later) is it 34%.

Cubic close packed: face-centered cubic

In a similar manner to the generation of the hexagonal close packed structure, two close packed layers are stacked ( [link] ) however, the third layer (C) is placed such that it does not exactly cover layer A, while sitting in a set of troughs in layer B ( [link] ), then upon repetition the packing sequence will be ...ABCABCABC.... This is known as cubic close packing or ccp .

Schematic representation of the three close packed layers in a cubic close packed arrangement: A (dark grey), B (medium grey), and C (light grey).

The unit cell of cubic close packed structure is actually that of a face-centered cubic ( fcc ) Bravais lattice. In the fcc lattice the close packed layers constitute the {111} planes. As with the hcp lattice packing fraction in a cubic close packed ( fcc ) cell is 74.05%. Since face centered cubic or fcc is more commonly used in preference to cubic close packed ( ccp ) in describing the structures, the former will be used throughout this text.

Questions & Answers

how do they get the third part x = (32)5/4
kinnecy Reply
can someone help me with some logarithmic and exponential equations.
Jeffrey Reply
sure. what is your question?
okay, so you have 6 raised to the power of 2. what is that part of your answer
I don't understand what the A with approx sign and the boxed x mean
it think it's written 20/(X-6)^2 so it's 20 divided by X-6 squared
I'm not sure why it wrote it the other way
I got X =-6
ok. so take the square root of both sides, now you have plus or minus the square root of 20= x-6
oops. ignore that.
so you not have an equal sign anywhere in the original equation?
Commplementary angles
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a perfect square v²+2v+_
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algebra 2 Inequalities:If equation 2 = 0 it is an open set?
Kim Reply
or infinite solutions?
The answer is neither. The function, 2 = 0 cannot exist. Hence, the function is undefined.
Embra Reply
if |A| not equal to 0 and order of A is n prove that adj (adj A = |A|
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rolling four fair dice and getting an even number an all four dice
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Kristine 2*2*2=8
Bridget Reply
Differences Between Laspeyres and Paasche Indices
Emedobi Reply
No. 7x -4y is simplified from 4x + (3y + 3x) -7y
Mary Reply
is it 3×y ?
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J, combine like terms 7x-4y
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how do you translate this in Algebraic Expressions
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Need to simplify the expresin. 3/7 (x+y)-1/7 (x-1)=
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. After 3 months on a diet, Lisa had lost 12% of her original weight. She lost 21 pounds. What was Lisa's original weight?
Chris Reply
what's the easiest and fastest way to the synthesize AgNP?
Damian Reply
types of nano material
abeetha Reply
I start with an easy one. carbon nanotubes woven into a long filament like a string
many many of nanotubes
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what is nanomaterials​ and their applications of sensors.
Ramkumar Reply
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what is system testing?
preparation of nanomaterial
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Yes, Nanotechnology has a very fast field of applications and their is always something new to do with it...
Himanshu Reply
good afternoon madam
what is system testing
what is the application of nanotechnology?
In this morden time nanotechnology used in many field . 1-Electronics-manufacturad IC ,RAM,MRAM,solar panel etc 2-Helth and Medical-Nanomedicine,Drug Dilivery for cancer treatment etc 3- Atomobile -MEMS, Coating on car etc. and may other field for details you can check at Google
anybody can imagine what will be happen after 100 years from now in nano tech world
after 100 year this will be not nanotechnology maybe this technology name will be change . maybe aftet 100 year . we work on electron lable practically about its properties and behaviour by the different instruments
name doesn't matter , whatever it will be change... I'm taking about effect on circumstances of the microscopic world
how hard could it be to apply nanotechnology against viral infections such HIV or Ebola?
silver nanoparticles could handle the job?
not now but maybe in future only AgNP maybe any other nanomaterials
can nanotechnology change the direction of the face of the world
Prasenjit Reply
At high concentrations (>0.01 M), the relation between absorptivity coefficient and absorbance is no longer linear. This is due to the electrostatic interactions between the quantum dots in close proximity. If the concentration of the solution is high, another effect that is seen is the scattering of light from the large number of quantum dots. This assumption only works at low concentrations of the analyte. Presence of stray light.
Ali Reply
the Beer law works very well for dilute solutions but fails for very high concentrations. why?
bamidele Reply
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, Electromagnetism. OpenStax CNX. Jan 13, 2010 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11173/1.1
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