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In my lessons of solid state, I was taught about Bravais Lattices, and Face Centered, Body Centered, and Primitive cubic lattices, to name a few. All these crystal structures had this assumption, that ions/atoms are considered as hard spheres.

Considering sodium stearate, the stearate anion isn't a hard sphere, not by a long shot. Since Bravais lattices assume spherical atoms, I am led to believe that sodium stearate doesn't follow Bravais lattice structures.

So my question is, what is the crystal structure of sodium stearate?

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    $\begingroup$ There's quite a bit of difference between atoms and molecules... $\endgroup$ – Mithoron Aug 12 '17 at 13:09
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    $\begingroup$ Bravais lattices have nothing to do with atoms as solid spheres, or with atoms at all, for that matter. $\endgroup$ – Ivan Neretin Aug 12 '17 at 13:19
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    $\begingroup$ Lattices don't assume spherical atoms. There is no assumption of what is placed at each lattice point. $\endgroup$ – orthocresol Aug 12 '17 at 13:20
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    $\begingroup$ Maybe take a look at the refined structure of any stearate, say, this one: pubs.acs.org/doi/suppl/10.1021/jp992279f (supplementary info would be enough). Pay attention how the structure is obtained, what symmetry it has and what the unit cell looks like. $\endgroup$ – andselisk Aug 12 '17 at 13:43
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    $\begingroup$ @orthocresol Usually it is. Then again, lattice points have nothing to do with atoms; if they coincide, that's merely a coincidence. $\endgroup$ – Ivan Neretin Aug 12 '17 at 13:45

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