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Unit cell and periodicity are key concepts in crystallography and classically were thought to be inherent properties of ordered media like crystals. Aperiodic crystals (including quasicrystals) forced a change of paradigm, affecting the actual definition of a crystal. However, aperiodicity is usually not taught in crystallography undergraduate courses. The emergence of low-cost 3D-printing technologies makes it possible to tackle hands-on learning of the commonly taught crystallography concepts related to periodicity and to introduce in an uncomplicated manner aperiodic crystals and their related concepts that usually are skipped. In this paper, several examples of the use of 3D printing are shown, including 2D and 3D examples of periodic and aperiodic ordered media; these are particularly useful to understand both conventional periodic crystals and quasicrystals. The STL files of the presented models are made available with the paper.

Supporting information

pdf

Portable Document Format (PDF) file https://doi.org/10.1107/S1600576720011772/gj5252sup1.pdf
Details of supporting information, and Figure S1 connected to Section 2.2

zip

Zip compressed file https://doi.org/10.1107/S1600576720011772/gj5252sup2.zip
zip file containing 36 3D-printable STL files


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