BCC is one of the first abbreviations you’ll learn in materials science, but if you’re trying to learn materials science on your own, you may not know what BCC means.
BCC stands for Body-Centered Cubic, which is a type of crystal structure. The BCC unit cell has an atom at each corner of a cube, and another atom at the center of the cube.
You may see BCC in the context of either:
- BCC crystal structure
- BCC Bravais lattice
The term BCC comes from the Bravais lattice, which is a mathematical way to fill space with a repeating pattern. The BCC crystal structure is when there is exactly one atom at each lattice point in the BCC lattice.
There are many crystal structures which have an BCC lattice, but don’t count as a BCC crystal because they have a more-complex basis. For example, SiF4 has a 10-atom basis on a BCC lattice, but it would not be called a BCC crystal structure.