Articles | Volume 34, issue 6
Eur. J. Mineral., 34, 523–538, 2022
https://doi.org/10.5194/ejm-34-523-2022
Eur. J. Mineral., 34, 523–538, 2022
https://doi.org/10.5194/ejm-34-523-2022
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

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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.