Crystals can beautifully reflect light, even in a dark room
How To Create Crystals
The Run Down On Crystals
A crystal is an organized grouping of atoms, or molecules. Each crystal has different properties and shapes. For example, sugar crystals are oblong and slanted at the ends; salt crystals are cubic.
Many different substances can be used to form crystals:
- Potassium Ferricyanide
- Copper Acetate Monohydrate
- Calcium Copper Acetate Hexahydrate
Crystals can be grown by man or made naturally. They form when a material passes from a liquid or gas state into a solid state, in ideal conditions that react with that material. Three types of crystals occur in nature: Ice crystals; stalagmites and stalactites; and mineral crystals or gemstones.
An example of how crystals form using salt:
Sodium (Na) and Chlorine (Cl) atoms both share a pair of electrons in an ionic bond. In solution, the Na and Cl are separated by water molecules (H20). As the water evaporates from the solution, the Na and Cl atoms begin to bond together, first as single molecules and then the molecules bond together, forming crystals. Every molecule will form the same shape crystal each time it forms. The crystal shape for salt is a cube like a six-sided die.
There are three main shapes of crystal forming:
Cubic crystals come in several different shapes. Perfect cubes with six sides, pyramids and variations of the 2.The best way to identify cubic crystals is by the shape and size of their faces.
Tetragonal system crystals are similar to cubic crystals, except they are longer along one side than cubic crystal faces. For example, if a cubic crystal looks like a perfect six-sided cube, a tetragonal crystal will look like a six-sided cube with rectangular faces. Zircon is one example of a tetragonal crystal.
Orthorhombic is one of the largest crystal systems. Orthorhombic crystals are usually long with rectangular faces that taper off to a pyramid shape near the top. The orthorhombic crystal system contains topaz, peridot, tanzanite and many types of quartz.
Crystals refract light through Birefringence, crystal having one of the strongest double refractions. Birefringence is when one ray splits into two,when passing through a certain substance.
The best conditions for growing crystals:
Super saturated water - dissolving as much of the chosen material as you can
Porous Material - the air pockets allow more material to attract, smooth dense surfaces don't work
Cool dry area / constant area- the jar should be in a cool dry place, also the surroundings should be constant
Getting Started !!!
Meterials: 2 beakers 250ml (or more), Filter Funnel, Paper (to cover), potash alum, water
ALL APPARATUS MUST BE CLEAN AND DRY
1) 25g of potash alum in a beaker (250 ml or bigger)
2) Add 170 ml of hot water - Stir until dissolved
3) Filter the solution through a Filter Funnel in to another CLEAN/DRY beaker
4) Cover and allow to stand overnight - undisturbed
Materials: Same as day one , another beaker
1) Observe the beaker - there should be 2 solutions
2) Carefully pour off the clear solution and set aside
3) With the solution that is left, let stand overnight again
4) May stir if nothing has happened
Materials: Both Solutions, ruler, camera, paper, recording materials eg.pencil, paper, tweezers.
1) From the solution of day two, select one "seed" and place into the beaker with clear solution.
2) If you like to promote uniform growth is to suspend the crystal with a nylon thread tied round a stirring rod or pencil resting on the rim of the beaker.
3) Take a picture
4) Observe. Record size of crystal and level of water
5)Cover with loose fitting paper
6)Allow the solution to stand in a draft free location, not in direct sunlight or near a heater. The aim is to keep the temperature as constant as possible.
Every week so on - for as long as you like (10 weeks max.)
Materials: Ruler, Camera and you crystal in a jar
1) Carefully level bottom of ruler to the bottom of the jar
2) Take photo
3) Record observations
(A few days post this photo my crystal dissolved so no further scientific pictures had the opportunity to be taken)