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Author Topic: chirality  (Read 3427 times)

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butlerw2

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chirality
« on: July 20, 2012, 02:05:30 PM »

The question is to classify each as to whether it is chiral or achiral:
a) a screwdriver
b) a baseball bat
c) a golf club
d) a tennis shoe
e) an ear
f) a woodscrew
g) a car
f) a woodscrew
g) a car
h) a hammer

I understand that you can use a plane of symmetry to determine if something is chiral or achiral (if it equally divides the two... it is achiral. I get that.). According to the solutions, a screwdriver, a baseball bat, and a hammer are achiral and everything else is chiral. I get the baseball bat and screwdriver since a plane of symmetry can equally divide those into two equal halves but why is a hammer achiral? I can't seem to understand that. If a golf club is chiral, I feel like a hammer would be too?

Also, why is a woodscrew not achiral. I feel like a plane of symmetry could equally divide it into two halves.

Please help me understand this.
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discodermolide

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Re: chirality
« Reply #1 on: July 20, 2012, 02:49:39 PM »

The question is to classify each as to whether it is chiral or achiral:
a) a screwdriver
b) a baseball bat
c) a golf club
d) a tennis shoe
e) an ear
f) a woodscrew
g) a car
f) a woodscrew
g) a car
h) a hammer

I understand that you can use a plane of symmetry to determine if something is chiral or achiral (if it equally divides the two... it is achiral. I get that.). According to the solutions, a screwdriver, a baseball bat, and a hammer are achiral and everything else is chiral. I get the baseball bat and screwdriver since a plane of symmetry can equally divide those into two equal halves but why is a hammer achiral? I can't seem to understand that. If a golf club is chiral, I feel like a hammer would be too?

Also, why is a woodscrew not achiral. I feel like a plane of symmetry could equally divide it into two halves.

Please help me understand this.

Another criterium of chirality is that an object must be non superimposable on it's mirror image.
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butlerw2

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Re: chirality
« Reply #2 on: July 20, 2012, 03:52:04 PM »

I understand that but I still don't understand the answers to my specific questions in the post. For example, a screw is chiral but why? Why would a hammer be achiral?
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discodermolide

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Re: chirality
« Reply #3 on: July 20, 2012, 05:22:03 PM »

I understand that but I still don't understand the answers to my specific questions in the post. For example, a screw is chiral but why? Why would a hammer be achiral?

A screw has a thread that twists in one direction, let's say right, you get screws in which the thread twists left, they are chiral, non superimposable. Pasteur discovered this in quartz crystals and separated them by employing his eyes and hands. DNA has a twist it is chiral.
A hammer, given that the two parts of the head are the same has a plane of symmetry, therefore achiral.
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