Themes > Science > Physics > Solid State Physics > Atomic Bonding and Crystal Structure > Crystal Structure and Crystal Planes > The 32 Crystal Classes The 32 crystal classes represent the 32 possible combinations of symmetry operations.  Each crystal class will have crystal faces that uniquely define the symmetry of the class.  These faces, or groups of faces are called crystal forms.  Note that you are not expected to memorize the crystal classes, their names, or the symmetry associated with each class.  You will, however, be expected to determine the symmetry content of crystal models, after which you can consult the tables in your textbook, lab handouts, or lecture notes.  All testing on this material in the lab will be open book. In this lecture we will go over some of the crystal classes and their symmetry.  I will not be able to cover all of the 32 classes.  You will, however, see many of the 32 classes during your work in lab.  I also want to point out that it is often not easy to draw a crystal of some classes where the symmetry can be represented without adding more symmetry or that can be easily seen in a two dimensional drawing.   The table below shows the 32 crystal classes, their symmetry, Hermann-Mauguin symbol, and class name.  Note that the 32 crystal classes are divided into 6 crystal systems. The Triclinic System has only 1-fold or 1-fold rotoinversion axes. The Monoclinic System has only mirror plane(s) or a single 2-fold axis. The Orthorhombic System has only two fold axes or a 2-fold axis and 2 mirror planes. The Tetragonal System has either a single 4-fold or 4-fold rotoinversion axis. The Hexagonal System has no 4-fold axes, but has at least 1 6-fold or 3-fold axis. The Isometric System has either 4 3-fold axes or 4 3-fold rotoinversion axes.
 Crystal System Crystal Class Symmetry Name of Class Triclinic 1 none Pedial i Pinacoidal Monoclinic 2 1A2 Sphenoidal m 1m Domatic 2/m i, 1A2, 1m Prismatic Orthorhombic 222 3A2 Rhombic-disphenoidal mm2 (2mm) 1A2, 2m Rhombic-pyramidal 2/m2/m2/m i, 3A2, 3m Rhombic-dipyramidal Tetragonal 4 1A4 Tetragonal- Pyramidal 4 Tetragonal-disphenoidal 4/m i, 1A4, 1m Tetragonal-dipyramidal 422 1A4, 4A2 Tetragonal-trapezohedral 4mm 1A4, 4m Ditetragonal-pyramidal 2m 14, 2A2, 2m Tetragonal-scalenohedral 4/m2/m2/m i, 14, 4A2, 5m Ditetragonal-dipyramidal Hexagonal 3 1A3 Trigonal-pyramidal 13 Rhombohedral 32 1A3, 3A2 Trigonal-trapezohedral 3m 1A3, 3m Ditrigonal-pyramidal 2/m 13, 3A2, 3m Hexagonal-scalenohedral 6 1A6 Hexagonal-pyramidal 16 Trigonal-dipyramidal 6/m i, 1A6, 1m Hexagonal-dipyramidal 622 1A6, 6A2 Hexagonal-trapezohedral 6mm 1A6, 6m Dihexagonal-pyramidal m2 16, 3A2, 3m Ditrigonal-dipyramidal 6/m2/m2/m i, 1A6, 6A2, 7m Dihexagonal-dipyramidal Isometric 23 3A2, 4A3 Tetaroidal 2/m 3A2, 3m, 43 Diploidal 432 3A4, 4A3, 6A2 Gyroidal 3m 34, 4A3, 6m Hextetrahedral 4/m2/m 3A4, 43, 6A2, 9m Hexoctahedral
 Triclinic System Characterized by only 1-fold or 1-fold rotoinversion axis Pedial Class,   1, Symmetry content - none In this class there is no symmetry, so all crystal faces are unique and are not related to each other by symmetry.  Such faces are called Pedions, thus this is the Pedial Class.  Only a few rare minerals are in this class.
 Pinacoidal Class,  , Symmetry content - i Since this class there is only a center of symmetry, pairs of faces are related to each other through the center.  Such faces are called pinacoids, thus this is the pinacoidal class.  Among the common minerals with pinacoidal crystals are: microcline (K-feldspar), plagioclase, turquoise, and wollastonite.
 Monoclinic System Characterized by having only  mirror plane(s) or a single 2-fold axis.
 Sphenoidal Class,  2, Symmetry content - 1A2  In this class there is a single 2-fold rotation axis.  Faces related by a 2-fold axis are called sphenoids, thus this is the sphenoidal class. Only rare minerals belong to this class.
 Domatic Class, m, Symmetry content - 1m This class has a single mirror plane.  Faces related by a mirror plane are called domes, thus this is the domatic class.  Only 2 rare minerals crystallize in this class.
 Prismatic Class, 2/m. Symmetry content - 1A2, m, i This class has a single 2-fold axis perpendicular to a single mirror plane.  This class has pinacoid faces and prism faces.  A prism is defined as 3 or more identical faces that are all parallel to the same line.  In the prismatic class, these prisms consist of 4 identical faces, 2 of which are shown in the diagram on the front of the crystal.  The other two are on the back side of the crystal.
 The most common minerals that occur in the prismatic class are the micas (biotite and muscovite), azurite, chlorite, clinopyroxenes, epidote, gypsum, malachite, kaolinite, orthoclase, and talc.
 Orthorhombic System Characterized by having only two fold axes or a 2-fold axis and 2 mirror planes.
 Rhombic -disphenoidal Class, 222, Symmetry content - 3A2 In this class there are 3  2-fold axis and no mirror planes.  The 2-fold axes are all perpendicular to each other.  The disphenoid faces that define this group consist of 2 faces on top of the crystal and 2 faces on the bottom of the crystal that are offset from each other by 90o.  Epsomite is the most common rare mineral of this class.
 Rhombic-pyramidal Class, 2mm (mm2), Symmetry content - 1A2, 2m This class has two perpendicular mirror planes and a single 2-fold rotation axis.  Because it has not center of symmetry, the faces on the top of the crystal do not occur on the bottom.  A pyramid, is a set of 3 or more identical faces that intersect at a point.  In the case of the rhombic pyramid, these would be 4 identical faces, labeled p, in the diagram.
 Hemimorphite is the most common mineral with this symmetry.
 Rhombic-dipyramidal Class, 2/m2/m2/m, Symmetry content - 3A2, 3m, i This class has 3 perpendicular 2-fold axes that are perpendicular to 3 mirror planes.  The dipyramid faces consist of 4 identical faces on top and 4 identical faces on the bottom that are related to each other by reflection across the horizontal mirror plane or by rotation about the horizontal 2-fold axes. The most common minerals in this class are andalusite, anthophyllite, aragonite, barite, cordierite, olivine, sillimanite, stibnite, sulfur, and topaz.
 Tetragonal System Characterized by a single 4-fold or 4-fold rotoinversion axis.
 Tetragonal-pyramidal Class, 4, Symmetry content - 1A4 Since this class has a single 4-fold axis and no mirror planes, there are no pyramid faces on the bottom of the crystal.  Wulfinite is the only mineral known to crystallize in this class.
 Tetragonal-disphenoidal Class, , Symmetry content - 14 With only a single 4-fold rotoinversion axis, the disphenoid faces consist of two identical faces on top, and two identical faces on the bottom, offset by 90o.  Note that there are no mirror planes in this class.  Only one rare mineral is known to form crystals of this class.
 Tetragonal-dipyramidal Class, 4/m, Symmetry content - 1A4, 1m, i This class has a single 4-fold axis perpendicular to a mirror plane.  This results in 4 pyramid faces on top that are reflected across the mirror plane to form 4 identical faces on the bottom of the crystal.  Scheelite and scapolite are the only common minerals in this class.
 Tetragonal-trapezohedral Class, 422, Symmetry content - 1A4, 4A2 This class has a 4 fold axis perpendicular to 4 2-fold axes.  There are no mirror planes.  Only one rare mineral belongs to this class.
 Ditetragonal-pyramidal Class, 4mm, Symmetry content - 1A4, 4m This class has a single 4-fold axis and 4 mirror planes.  The mirror planes are not shown in the diagram., but would cut through the edges and center of the faces shown.  Note that the ditetragonal pyramid is a set of 8 faces that form a pyramid on the top of the crystal. Only one rare mineral forms in the crystal class.
 Tetragonal-scalenohedral Class, 2m, Symmetry Content - 14, 2A2, 2m This class has a 4-fold rotoinversion axis that is perpendicular to 2 2-fold rotation axes.  The 2 mirror planes a parallel to the and are at 45o to the 2-fold axes.  Chalcopyrite and stannite are the only common minerals with crystals in this class.
 Ditetragonal-dipyramidal Class, 4/m2/m2/m, Symmetry content - 1A4, 4A2, 5m, i This class has the most symmetry of the tetragonal system.  It has a single 4-fold axis that is perpendicular to 4 2-fold axes.  All of the 2-fold axes are perpendicular to mirror planes.  Another mirror plane is perpendicular to the 4-fold axis.  The mirror planes are not shown in the diagram, but would cut through all of the vertical edges and through the center of the pyramid faces.  The fifth mirror plane is the horizontal plane.  Note the ditetragonal-dipyramid consists of the 8 pyramid faces on the top and the 8 pyramid faces on the bottom.
 Common minerals that occur with this symmetry are anatase, cassiterite, apophyllite, zircon, and vesuvianite.
 Note that I will not have time in lecture to cover the rest of the 32 crystal classes, that is those belonging to the hexagonal and isometric systems.  These are difficult to draw, and are best left for the student to study using the textbook, pages 82-100, and the crystal models in lab. Information provided by: http://www.tulane.edu