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Platonic hydrocarbon

Platonic hydrocarbons are the molecular representation of platonic solid geometries with vertices replaced by carbon atoms and with edges replaced by chemical bonds. Not all platonic solids have a molecular counterpart:

  • Tetravalent carbon excludes an icosahedron (5 faces meeting at each vertex) as a feasible objective;
  • Angle strain prohibits an octahedron.

The following platonic hydrocarbons, on the other hand, have been synthesised:

Note that with increasing number of carbon atoms in the frame, the geometry will eventually approximate a sphere. This is ultimately accomplished in fullerene although not a Platonic hydrocarbon itself (Buckminsterfullerene, C60, has the shape of a truncated icosahedron, an Archimedean solid).


  • Henning Hopf, Classics in Hydrocarbon Chemistry, Wiley VCH, 2000.
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Platonic_hydrocarbon". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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