Visualization and "Real"ization of Chemical Structures via Chime:  Bringing Molecular Images to the Eyes of Your Students

Scott A. Sinex  


Barbara A. Gage

To get this page with active links, go to (then click on presentations)


Getting the Software:

Chime, a product of MDL Information Systems, is molecular structure rendering software or freeware that operates in a browser (best in Netscape 4.7).  You will need Chime installed as a plug-in in your browser to view structures. 

Files that Chime uses to generate structures are produced in other software applications such as Spartan or Isis Draw (freeware from MDL too).  

Becoming a Chime User:

Chime is an excellent molecular visualization tool and easy for students to learn to use.  For more information on Chime as a molecular visualization tool click here (links are hot).  A copy is attached.

How to use Chime in the classroom and by your students -  go to our Student Guide for the Use of Chime.

What can you view?:

Let's examine ammonia or NH3, as given below.  Just clicking on an atom will identify it.

2D            Stick            Ball & stick            Space-filled           Electrostatic Potential


The space-filled model is most like the true representation of the real molecule, while the electrostatic potential shows the distribution of charge on the molecule.  

You can measure bond lengths, bond angles, and torsion angles too.

Use in Instruction:

Here are just a few uses of Chime to support classroom instruction.

VSEPR* Structure and Bonding Activities* Molecules of Life Activities* Molecules in Motion*
Mol4D- Molecules in Four Dimensions IR spectroscopy and Molecular Motion Online Museum of Macromolecules Vibrations of Small Molecules
Eric Martz's Great Site DNA  or DNA Mineral Structures Thermal Motion of Protein

* developed by us

Most of the structures shown in our activities are from the molecules collection available at the NSF-funded C4 Project at Cabrillo Community College.

Presented at the MCTM-MAST Joint Conference 2001: A Mathematics and Science Odyssey on 19 October 2001 at River Hill High School, Columbia, MD.