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NaCl Lattices

NaCl Lattices Model Classroom Set

Lending Library Update

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the MSOE Model Lending Library has suspended operations. Before reopening, we need to identify safe ways of disinfecting library materials between uses. We hope to have decisions made by mid-July about which materials will be available for loan in the fall.


Teaching Points

There are several different chemical bonds found in nature. Ionic bonding represents the attraction of cations (positively charged ions) to anions (negatively charged ions). There is a strong electrostatic interaction between these oppositely charged ions, which forms a bond that requires the input of energy to break. One consequence of this high level of electrostatic attraction is the high boiling point of molecules with ionic bonds.

Ionic bonding commonly generates lattices, in which the components of that lattice alternate with each other in three-dimensional space. Common table salt, NaCl, is an example of a lattice generated through ionic bonding between sodium ions (positively charged) and chloride ions (negatively charged). Sodium has a single electron in its valence shell while chloride has seven electrons in its outer valence shell. An ionic bond occurs when one atom "steals" an electron from another atom and in so doing, allows for each valence shell to be complete. Visualizing the repeating pattern found in salt lattices is often challenging for students. Through the models in this collection, the crystal shape of salt is easily seen and manipulated.

This collection also includes models of water, so that the concept of solubility can be explored. The ionic bond between sodium and chloride is easily dissociated in water as water will interact readily with the ions. Through the use of these models, a student can examine how many water molecules are needed to dissolve a single NaCl ionic bond. The concept of saturation can also be discussed with reference to the availability of water to interact with NaCl molecules.

Models in this Collection

  • 6 3x3x3 NaCl Lattices
    • 27 atoms, each ion has 6 embedded magnets to simulate ionic bonding
  • 2 Water Cups
    • 12 water molecules
    • 1 sodium ion
    • 1 chlorine ion
    • 1 ethane core with 5 non-magnetic hydrogens
    • 1 hydroxyl group
    • 1 non-magnetic hydrogen with gray post


Requesting this Model

Loan Time Frame: 3 weeks


  • Use the calendar below to select a three week loan. Available times are shown in green. Select a date one week prior to the date you want the model to arrive. After selecting your time period, select checkout and complete the booking details.
  • This loan includes both delivery and return shipping time. Please make sure to plan time (approximately one week) for us to deliver the model to you. You can expect the model to arrive approximately one week following the first day of the requested loan period.


  • Use the calendar below to select a three week loan. Available times are shown in green. Select the date you want to pick up the model. After selecting your time period, select checkout and complete the booking details.

Requesting Other Models

You may schedule one copy of a model for three weeks. Due to limited resources, we are unable to send multiple copies or additional materials.

If you would like to request a loan of a different model for the same time frame you may add this to your cart. Up to three different types of models may be checked out at one time. You will need to fill out a separate request for model loans with a different time frame.


Please contact us at with any questions about the lending process or the availability of models.

Contact Margaret Franzen at or (414) 277-2824 with questions about the models, teaching resources or educational content.



Models Documentation and Instructions

Teaching Points and Inventory
NaCl Science Activities Teacher Notes
Patterns in Crystal Structures Teacher Notes
Patterns in Crystal Structures Student Handouts
Patterns in Crystal Structures Teacher Kay

Returning Models

Models must be returned on or before the due date.

Borrowers are responsible for return shipping costs. We recommend using FedEx or UPS with "two-day ground" transportation. Please make sure to get a tracking number for the shipment.

Please take care when returning models. Any damage incurred in return shipping due to improper packing will be charged to the borrower.

Ship models to:
Milwaukee School of Engineering
1000 N. Market Street
Milwaukee, WI 53202-3113
   Available    Your Booking    Unavailable/Padding