FCC 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 FCC means.
FCC stands for Face-Centered Cubic, which is a type of crystal structure. The FCC unit cell has an atom at each corner of a cube, and another atom at each face of a cube.
You may see FCC in the context of either:
- FCC crystal structure
- FCC Bravais lattice
The term FCC originates from its Bravais lattice, which is a mathematical description of a way to tile space with lattice points. The FCC crystal structure, which is extremely common, is when a material has exactly 1 atom at each lattice point of the FCC lattice.
There are many crystal structures which have an underlying FCC lattice, but don’t count as an FCC crystal because they have a more-complex basis. For example, NaCl has a 2-atom basis, and is called the halite structure.
When specifically referring to the FCC crystal structure, the term CCP may also be used.