Articles | Volume 34, issue 6
Eur. J. Mineral., 34, 523–538, 2022
Eur. J. Mineral., 34, 523–538, 2022
Research article
01 Nov 2022
Research article | 01 Nov 2022

TotBlocks: exploring the relationships between modular rock-forming minerals with 3D-printed interlocking brick modules

Derek D. V. Leung and Paige E. dePolo

Model code and software

derekdvleung/totblocks: TotBlocks 2022.05 D. D. V. Leung

Video abstract

TotBlocks Video Abstract D. D. V. Leung and P. E. dePolo

Short summary
Minerals have complex crystal structures, but many common minerals are built from the same chemical building blocks. TotBlocks is a novel, open-source tool for investigating these structures. It consists of 3D-printed modules representing the silica tetrahedra and metal–oxygen octahedra that form the shared chemical building blocks of rock-forming minerals. TotBlocks is a low-cost visualization tool that relates mineral properties (habit, cleavage, and symmetry) to crystal structures.