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Chicken wire (chemistry)

The term chicken wire in chemistry is used in different contexts. Most of them relate to the similarity of the regular hexagonal (honeycomb-like) patterns found in certain chemical compounds to the mesh structure commonly seen in real chicken wire.


Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons


Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons or graphenes including fullerenes, carbon nanotubes, and graphite have a hexagonal structure that is often described as chicken wire-like. [1] [2] [3]

Hexagonal molecular structures

A hexagonal structure that is often described as chicken wire-like can also be found in other types of chemical compounds. Examples are:


Bond line notation

The bond line notation is a method to draw structural formulas of organic compounds where lines represent the chemical bonds and the edges represent implicit carbon atoms [8]. This notation is sometimes jestingly called chicken wire notation. [9] [10] [11]

Placeholder for organic compounds

Chicken wire is sometimes used as a placeholder name for any organic compound, similar to the use of the name John Doe.[citation needed]

Chemical joke

It is an old and notable joke in chemistry to draw a polycyclic hexagonal chemical structure and call this fictional compound chickenwire. By adding one or two simple chemical groups to this skeleton, the compound can then be named following the official chemical naming convention. Examples are:

  • 1,2-Dimethyl-chickenwire in a cartoon by Nick D. Kim.
  • Ethyl-methyl-chickenwire in a textbook of organic chemistry (pdf).


Surface plots

In computational chemistry a chicken wire model or chicken wire surface plot is a way to visualize molecular models by drawing the polygon mesh of their surface (defined e.g. as the van der Waals radius or a certain electron density). [12] [13] [14] [15] [16]

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Chicken_wire_(chemistry)". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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