FUN Science: Make Your Own Buckyball!


If you’ve kicked around a soccer ball, you may have noticed the pattern on the ball’s surface. The ball is stitched together from 12 patches with five sides (pentagons) and 20 patches with six sides (hexagons).

About 20 years ago, chemists discovered that carbon can form into molecules with the same shape. This molecule is sometimes referred as the C60 molecule but is most commonly known for its nickname “the buckyball”.  The Buckyball, or C60 molecule was discovered by accident (in the lab) while trying to understand the chemistry between the stars in the Interstellar Medium ISM.  The discovery led to the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 1996.  

Each  Buckyball molecule is made up of 60 carbon atoms called a truncated icosahedron and belongs to a group of materials known as nano-materials. Nano-materials are created by scientists by manipulating individual atoms to build molecules of different shapes. Groups of these molecules form materials with particular characteristics, making them suitable for different jobs. For example, some nano-materials are already being used in makeup and sunscreens. 

The strong, hollow particles that make up the Buckyball may someday be used to carry medicine or even block the action of certain viruses.

Making your own Buckyball Molecule is simple with our cool molecule template! Get the template here

Here’s how you do it…

2. Cut out each cool molecule design & tape it together. It should resemble a soccer ball!

When assembled it will have 32 faces, of which 20 are regular hexagons and 12 are pentagons. We want to see how cool your buckyball turned out!

Send in your pictures of your cool Buckyball & they could end up published on our blog & facebook page! Email your pictures to! 


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