How to Grow Crystals

If you want to try something new, you can try to learn how to grow crystals. The word crystal is a derivative from Greek “Krustallos”, which means “ice” or “rock-crystal”. It can be described as a solid material that consists of regular repeated pattern of molecules that are connected together. The process of growing crystals is called nucleation. During that time, the atoms or molecules that will later crystallize (or solute) are dissolved into individual units in a solvent. If you are wondering what solvent is – it is a liquid, solid, or gas that dissolves another liquid, solid or gaseous solute. Ethanol, acetone, petrol ether are organic solvents and have a wide use in everyday life. Inorganic solvents are water, ammonia, carbon dioxide etc. but their use is limited to chemistry research and some processes in technology.

Different Types of Crystals

If you want to grow crystals at home, it can be easy or complex – it depends on a type of crystal you want to grow. Alum crystals, salt crystals and sugar crystals are some of the simple ones.

Alum crystals are the largest crystals you can grow at home. Here are some instructions how to do it.

How to Grow Crystals

You will need a pan (a saucepan will do), alum that you can buy in a chemist’s shop, water, a plate or a saucer, a jar, nylon fishing line and a pencil.

Pour 600ml of water in the container and add 100 grams of powdered alum. Heat the mixture and add as much alum as you need until it can’t dissolve any more. Let it cool, pour the mixture on a plate or a saucer and store it on a cool and dry place. Put the rest of the mixture in a jar or some similar container; add an extra tablespoon of alum to make the mixture saturated and put a cloth or a paper towel over it.

After a few days you will see the crystals starting to form in the saucer, but don’t touch them; wait until all the water evaporates from it and then pick the best (largest) ones. Tie one end of the fishing line around them and another end around the pencil and hang it in a jar with the mixture you left the first day. Put the jar in a warm place, like a cupboard and wait for a couple of weeks. Crystals will form. You can let them grow or you can end the process if you are satisfied with their form. At the end, take them out of the jar and let them dry.

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