Solubility Science: How to Grow the Best Crystals

“Growing” crystals with borax powder and pipe cleaners is a popular kid’s craft and fun science experiment, but Amanda Kingloff made it possible for adults to try growing borax crystals without feeling the least bit sheepish.

Put the jar with the crystal aside in a dark cupboard. I gave up after one week.

The Basic Crystal Growing Technique. Make a saturated solution. Start a garden or grow a seed crystal. Continue growth. In order to grow a crystal, you need to make a solution which maximizes the chances for the solute particles to come together and form a nucleus, which will grow into your crystal.
Mar 03,  · There a currently multiple way you can use in order to grow a nice big crystal, but don't expect hand-size crystals. Also, growing a clear crystal means maintaining its structure while keeping it away from any other crystal.
The purest and cleanest crystals, however, are usually also the ones that grow to be the largest in size. In this activity you'll compare the size and shape of crystals grown in different.
Detailed instructions with pictures on how to grow dozens of different types of crystals Fast, simple crystal growing projects A salt garden (Good for classroom demonstrations.) The simplest, fastest crystals of all to grow (Good for classroom demonstrations.) Super-fast crystals (At last that's what one site claimed.
Detailed instructions with pictures on how to grow dozens of different types of crystals Fast, simple crystal growing projects A salt garden (Good for classroom demonstrations.) The simplest, fastest crystals of all to grow (Good for classroom demonstrations.) Super-fast crystals (At last that's what one site claimed.

Sep 12,  · Put the jar with the crystal aside in a dark cupboard. Let the crystal set for at least 5 days. The longer you let the crystal set in the solution, the bigger it will grow. You can leave the crystal in the solution for up to a month. Re-filter the solution every 5 days if %(1).

For making several small samples, stick toothpicks through a soft plastic cover and place it over a wide shallow glass. Crystals will grow on the toothpicks. I also tried this experiment with syrup cooked to degrees. It behaved the same as the syrup except it took an extra hour to develop the crystals and they weren't quite as dense. I experimented this crystal growing procedure up after boiling the sugar syrup to , , and degrees F. The goal was to see if there was an optimum temperature at which large crystals formed quickly.

After two hours the degree sample showed no growth. The degree sample had a few small crystals and the degree looked like this: Two hours later the layer of crystals had doubled in thickness. There was no change in the other two test cases. After 24 hours the degree syrup stopped growing and looked like the picture below. The degree syrup after 24 hours had similarly stopped growing and only had a few tiny crystals.

From this I assume that the optimum syrup temperature for growing small fast sugar crystals is between and degrees. I tried an experiment to grow larger crystals by slowing down the speed that the sugar syrup cooled. To do so I placed the glass containing the syrup inside two Styrofoam chests. The smaller chest was covered with aluminum foil to reduce heat loss do to thermal radiation. While I boiled up a batch of degree sugar syrup, I heated the glass and 20 pounds of iron weights in the oven to degrees.

Once the syrup was ready, I poured it into the heated glass heating the glass prevents a sudden temperature drop in the syrup and placed the glass and iron weights in the insulated boxes. The weights act as a thermal ballast to keep the temperature from dropping too fast. The boxes were placed in the back of a closet in the center of the house where temperature variations are minimal.

Thirty-six hours later the crystal mix had lost all its heat and I opened the box to find a beautiful cluster of much larger sugar crystals clinging to the skewer. Many of the individual crystals showed the classic elongated hexagon shape of sugar crystals. These crystals are getting close to the size of those grown commercially in the manufacture of rock candy. I suspect that if I increased the thermal mass and the amount of insulation to slow the growth, the crystals would become even larger.

The next step was to repeat this last experiment, but this time instead of inserting a stick on which to grow a cluster of crystals, I inserted a single large seed crystal to see how large it would grow. Instead, all I got was a solid mass of small crystals packed around it.

Rock Candy on a String. This is the classic way rock candy is grown and sold. I tried making it by filling a glass bread pan with degree syrup and laying a length of yarn in it. After covering it with a cloth and placing it in a safe ant-free location for two weeks I went to check and discovered two things: Complicating things further was that the yarn had gotten so attached to the crystals growing on the bottom of the pan that it broke when I tried pulling it loose.

My second attempt was to start with room temperature water, in which as much sugar as possible could be dissolved In my case, 4 cups of sugar in three cups of water at the temperature of the growing location left a small amount of undissolved sugar on the bottom of the mixing jar after three stirrings and rest periods. This is perfect because a little undissolved sugar is a guarantee that the solution is saturated. After pouring the saturated solution, but not the undissolved sugar, into a glass bread pan I placed a length of cotton string not yarn this time - I decided fuzzy rock candy wouldn't be to appetizing in the liquid and suspended it with a wire holder at each end so that is was an inch off the bottom of the pan.

If there's one thing that'll draw them it's concentrated sugar water sitting undisturbed for weeks at a time. How'd it turn out?

After a week nothing had formed on the string. I even tried dusting the string with sugar crystals and still couldn't get anything to grow. After experimenting with sugar solubility I discovered that I hadn't managed to create a saturated solution.

I've made three observations that suggest that evaporation is not an important factor in growing sugar crystals. First, I dipped a nylon thread into a degree sugar syrup very thin and let it air dry to create nucleation sites of crystals. With an evaporation rate this slow it's unlikely enough water would evaporate from a growing solution to cause crystallization at a fast enough rate to form crystals within a reasonable number of weeks.

Second, after spreading a thin layer of the same sugar syrup on a plate and letting it rest for several days, I noticed that a very thin hard shell had formed on the surface. Although the first experiment showed evaporation was very slow, this proved that it nonetheless happened. But, the syrup under the shell was still thin and liquid. Evidently some small amount of evaporation will occur to form the shell, then the shell blocks the air from getting at the remaining syrup and further evaporation is stopped.

Third, I set up a degree syrup and let it sit for a full month. After an initial small precipitation of crystals over the first 24 hours followed by the formation of a hard shell across the surface, there was no additional crystal growth.

I believe that these observations indicate that almost all sugar crystal growth beneath the surface of the is strictly the result of precipitation out of a supersaturated solution and not from prolonged evaporation. What all of the above showed me was that growing large sugar crystals is tricky and almost certainly requires a thermostatically controlled growing chamber capable of handling degree F.

These are available at most laboratory supply stores for five hundred dollars Since this is getting complex I'm going to continue the saga of my search for a technique to grow large sugar crystals in the Growing large, high quality single crystals article below.

Two important hints about working with sugar solutions: You can color sugar crystals with food coloring. If you try adding it afterward the liquid coloring will flash to steam creating a cloud of bubbles and the syrup will crystallize solid in a few minutes. Also, never add cool liquids to hot syrup. There's always the chance that when the cool liquid hits the hot syrup it could boil and splash you with syrup hot enough to burn. The counter area near where the syrup was boiled will be splattered with tiny drops of sugar syrup.

Unless you want legions of ants swarming through your kitchen I recommend you follow this experiment with a thorough cleaning. Alum aluminum potassium sulfate can be purchased in the spice section of larger grocery stores.

It's used in pickle making to make the pickles crisp. In crystal growing is is celebrated as one of the easiest chemicals to use for growing large, clear crystals. It naturally seems to prefer to to grow a few large crystals over many small ones.

Heat and stir until the alum dissolves. A good way to see if it's dissolved is to stir in a circular pattern then pull the stirrer out. As the water swirls around any undissolved crystals will collect in the center of the pan where they are easier to see. Pour this solution into a clear cup and set is aside for 24 hours. By that time the bottom should be covered with crystals.

Some of the better individual crystals collected from the glass above. Many of these would make good seed crystals. Alum's desire to form single crystals can be seen below. The same growing solution used in the first alum grown above was used here. The only difference is that instead of letting the mixture cool down quickly, it was placed in an insulated box so it would cool slower and the crystals would grow slower.

Usually this results in a solution forming dozens of medium crystals instead of hundreds of small crystals when the fast cooling technique is used. In this case only four very large crystals formed. Granted, they are all badly flawed but to get so few out of an uncontrolled crystallization is amazing.

Growing Crystals in a Gel. I read about this in a book from the library and thought it would be a way to grow crystals without having to tie a string on them to suspend them in a growing solution. I tried it and while it works the quality of the crystals is so poor I can't recommend it.

Teflon coated is okay. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of plain gelatin over the top of the water and let it soak for 5 minutes. Then start stirring and warming the solution until it comes to a simmer and all the gelatin is dissolved.

Pour this solution into a glass and let it stand for 24 hours. By then you should be able to see white lumps growing in the cloudy gel. These lumps are the crystals. The problem is that the gelatin interferes with the crystallization process so they come out irregular and cloudy, as show below: I found a webpage explaining a complicated procedure for growing crystals in gels. These technique produces crystal grow on the order on one inch per second.

It is by far the most dramatic example of crystal grow. Prepare your favorite growing solution. While it is still warm, pour a small quantity in the bottom of a warm metal pan. You don't what the solution to boil when it hits the pan. The warmth is only to speed evaporation. Swirl the solution around to form a very thin layer then set the pan down a watch. Within a minute or two crystal fans will spread across the face of the pan with startling speed. The process just starting.

In this example I used monoammonium phosphate with green dye. This works well with almost any crystal growing mixture. Monoammoni um phosphate crystals. Monoammonium phosphate is one of the two chemicals sold in crystal growing kits because it is second only to alum the other found in kits in being the easiest crystal to grow. Heat slowly and stir until it's completely dissolved.

Pour this solution into a glass. Twenty-four hours later you should have a thick bed of long thin crystals growing in every possible direction. If the solution is allowed to cool more slowly in an insulated box, I use a Styrofoam ice chest with a pot of hot water in it to slow the cooling, much larger crystals will form a truly impressive display. How to grow tin crystals with electricity. In a glass container and using a glass stirring rod, mix 1. The stannous chloride may need to be broken up to dissolve.

If you can find powdered stannous chloride it should go much faster. Next, use a crayon draw a 2 x 3 inch rectangle on a sheet of glass. The wax lines will help retain the growing solution.

Bend two paper clips so they can be taped down onto the glass plate so that one end touches the inside of the rectangle and the other end is outside and elevated so that an electrical clip can be attached to it. Find an old AC-to-DC converter such as those used to power laptops or toys. You want one that put out around 12 volts at 1. Remove the connector at the end of the wire and attach an alligator clip to each wire.

Pour the stannous chloride solution into the rectangle and use the glass rod to spread it around, making sure it contacts both paperclips.

Very quickly, you should be tin crystals growing from one of them and creating complex shapes. If you can only find a power supply with lower voltage, position the paperclips closer together so help current flow through the solution.

Lower current power supplies will also work, but the crystals won't grow as fast. What's happening is that tin ions from the stannous chloride combine with electrons flowing through the solution to form tin atoms which combine with other tin atoms to form the crystals. Tricks of the trade: Growing high quality single crystals is the ultimate challenge for the crystal grower. It requires careful attention to detail, temperature controlled growing chambers surprisingly easy and inexpensive to make , and patience.

Failure is more common than success but the rewards are worth it. Nothing either man made or natural is more perfect than a single crystal. Even a small one represents billions of atoms or molecules arranged in perfect order. The fact that anyone can grow such perfection in their own kitchen is amazing.

The first step in growing an outstanding crystal is to grow an outstanding seed crystal. Most references recommend growing seed crystals by evaporating a saturated solution until single crystals form on the bottom of the bowl and then tying these at the end of a thread, which is then suspended in a growing solution.

The problems with this technique is that it's common for the seed crystal to slip out of it's knot and fall to the bottom of the growing jar. Even it it remains and grows a large crystal, the loop and knot that went around the seed will be visible.

Worse still, seed crystals grown this way tend to be hazy. Because the surrounding crystal will be optically clear the hazy seed crystal will stand out in the heart of the gem you're trying to grow.

As a flaw, it will draw the observer's eye away from the good part of the crystal. My solution to these three problems is challenging, but results in superior crystals. First, prepare a growing solution and tie several nylon threads to a pencil with weights on their ends so they hand down into the solution. Wait a day to see if and crystals start forming on them. If they do, then you are off to a good start. If not, pull the threads out of the solution and let them air dry for half an hour then put them back in.

This will create microscopic seeds on the threads which will act as mini-seeds for the seed crystals you want. After an hour your threads should look like this: Now comes the tricky part. Pull the threads up and gently use your thumb and forefinger to pinch the crystals several times all the way down the length of the threads. Crystals growing on the surface will break loose. Crystals growing all the way around the thread will remain. Dip the thread a couple of times in the growing solution to rinse off loose crystals.

Repeat this step if necessary until only a few crystals remain. If you are lucky you will end up with a thread that has three or four good seeds growing on it. Put these back in the growing solution to get larger. The great thing about these seed crystals is that because they've grown around the thread they can't come loose and fall off.

As they grow, you can slide them up and down the nylon thread to accommodate changes in the level of the solution. When you put the seed crystals back in the growing solution to get larger, it's common for more crystals to form on the threads. These develop on the residue of the crystals you removed. You can prevent almost all of these by using a narrow, steady stream of warm water from the kitchen faucet to wash the thread off between the seeds you want to keep.

This takes a steady hand otherwise you're likely to wash away the crystals you want to keep. The best thread to use for crystals is transparent nylon.

It's invisible in the crystal and best off all, seed crystals slide up and down it so they can be positioned to the most convenient location for growing.

As it comes off the spool it will often be so curly it's difficult to work with. To straighten it, simply give a length of it a firm pull. The thread will stretch a little and in so doing straighten out. When tying knots, working over a dark cloth will help you to see the nearly invisible thread. Accidents happen, parasitic crystals form on main crystals and crystals break. For these and other reasons it's best grow several crystals at a time in the same jar.

That way if something happens to one you can remove it and carry on with the others. Regardless of whether you elect to grow your crystal by the evaporation technique or the super saturated technique, you will need some way to suspend the crystal in the growing medium.

Many references suggest hanging it from a pencil laid across the top of the growing jar. The problem with this is that where the thread meets the liquid is a prime location for the growth of crystals. These can break loose and fall down on the main crystal, start to grow, and ruin it. A better technique is to bend a length of wire into a small loop, which will act as a base to rest on the bottom of the growing jar, and then bring one end up and over and form it into a hook.

The crystal is tied to the hook and hangs down. Because the entire unit is below the surface of the growing solution there is no place for secondary crystals to form and fall on the primary crystal.

As crystals grow, they pull molecules out of the growing solution. The solution is now lighter so it rises. The top half of the crystal is caught in this wash of less concentrated solution so it grows slower than the bottom half. The result is that the crystal grows lopsided. If there is anything as bad as a crystal with internal defects, it's one that's nonsymmetric. To solve this problem I use a growing frame that can be turned upside down from time to time so that both the top and bottom grow at the same rate.

A sample of my growing frame with a seed crystal tied at both ends. It's an inch and a half across and the same tall. The thread is transparent and almost invisible in this picture. Using a growing frame like this isn't necessary to grow good crystals, it just helps a little. I've gotten perfectly acceptable crystals from seeds attached to a thread that's simply dangling in the solution.

If you prefer to use the suspension technique, rather than hanging the crystal from a stick resting on the top of the growing jar, may I suggest that you visit an office supply store and look for wire spring clips. When one leg is bend back ninety degrees, the clip can be flastened to the lip of the glass and will stay in place much better than a stick just resting on the lip. The bent leg extends out to the middle of the glass in perfect position to hold the line on which the crystal will grow.

I don't tie the line to the overhanging leg, but rather tape one end to the side of the glass and then simply drape the line over the loop. This way I can pull the line up to work the crystal without having to remove the clip. One of the two ways to grow a crystal is the slow-cooling technique. The growing solution is heated to dissolve a large amount of chemical then slowly cooled to the point where there is more chemical dissolved in the liquid that the liquid can hold.

If a crystal is introduced at this time it will grow very rapidly. Usually this technique works so fast that many small, flawed crystals are formed. To grow a high quality single crystals it's necessary to have the solution in a sealed jar in an electrically heated water bath inside an insulated box. The temperature is then reduced very slowly one degree F.

This technique works well and can produce large crystals in as little as two weeks. The problem is that it takes a lot of equipment and has to be worked with every day. The hazard with this technique is that it is very easy to loose control of the crystal growing rate and wake up with all sorts of ugly things growing on your main crystal. This one got away from me while using the slow-cooling technique.

It's clouded and irregular. Even with this technique, parasitic crystals can still form on the surface of the main crystal. Opening the jar to remove them can start the formation of many other unwanted crystals. The evaporation technique is much simpler and cheaper.

It is also much slower. To do it you warm the growing solution to dissolve more chemical in it than it can hold at the temperature of the growing location. The solution is allowed to cool and a few loose crystals are added. Twenty-four hours later any extra chemical that was in solution that can't be maintained in its dissolved state because the temperature is too low will have formed on the seed crystals. You now have a saturated solution. Pour this into a clean dry glass, add your good seed crystal, cover it with a cloth to prevent dust falling into the solution and forget about it.

As the solution evaporates it becomes slightly supersaturated and the excess chemical will form on the main crystal. Because evaporation is slow the crystal will grow slowly insuring high quality. Take a look every day to make sure no small crystals have formed on the main crystal. If so, pinch and rinse them off using the same technique used to grow the seed crystal.

Other than that, simply watch the crystal grow. If the solution is clear, you should be able to see growth within the first 48 hours. It's just an optical illusion. Whether you use the super saturated or evaporation technique, the best location for your setup is somewhere with the least amount of temperature fluctuations: Placing the crystal growing solutions on a shelf at eye level makes observing easier and more enjoyable.

Growing them in a thermal bath, a fish tank with a thermostatically controlled heated, is the ultimate but may be too much expense and hassle for some people. I've gotten good results with the evaporation technique without it. For myself I get the most pleasure growing crystals in the growing tank pictured below: By insulating the tank with foam, daily temperature changes are almost completely eliminated.

If a second small crystal starts growing on either a seed crystal or your main crystal, you can either ignore it and hope that the larger crystal will grow over it or take the more hazardous choice of removing it.

Usually a fingernail will usually dislodge the offending crystal. The problem is that it sometime leaves a crater in the main crystal. This will heal but it may leave a defect that looks like a faint fracture. I've experienced good and bad results from both techniques. Harvesting and storing crystals: When a crystal is removed from its growing solution it will be wet.

If it's allowed to air dry the liquid will evaporate quickly and may form many microscopic crystals on the surface of the main crystal. This can dull the shine.

I recommend drying crystals with a very soft tissue like Kleenex the second it's removed from the solution. Some crystals, like alum, are very stable and will last for decades as long as they are kept away from moisture. Even occasional handling hasn't hurt mine. Other crystals may dehydrate and are trickier to preserve.

As the above pictures show, some crystals, like nickel sulfate heptahydrate, quickly dehydrate, forming a white powder on their surfaces. Several coats of a clear gloss spray paint may slow the process. The risk is that before it dries the paint may dissolve part of the crystal or worse, the chemicals in the paint may react with the chemicals in the crystal.

This method also has the drawback that the many coats may dull the sharpness of the edges of the crystal, reducing its attractiveness. I've had some luck preserving crystals using a gloss protector for photographic prints.

One way to preserve crystals that dehydrate that was recommended by a couple of crystal growing sites I've visited is to place the crystal in a jar with a sponge saturated with water.

The crystal goes in a small cup inside the jar so that it doesn't come in contact with the wet sponge. I tried this and it didn't work. The humidity in the jar was so high that the crystals started to melt.

My preferred preservation technique for crystals that dehydrate is to store them in a tightly sealed jar that is filled with small trash and seed crystals of the same type. The atmosphere in the jar quickly adjusts to the perfect humidity for preserving the crystals. Using this method I've kept nickel sulfate crystals, which dehydrate quickly, in perfect condition indefinitely.

Amount of solution needed to grow good crystals: A crystal of alum that measures an inch from tip to tip only weighs three grams. More often than not, people mix up far more than they need. This isn't necessarily wasted. Extra solution allows for maneuvering room if you have to move the crystal around.

It also provides thermal ballast to blunt sudden temperature spikes. What I'm saying is that one cup of solution is enough to grow most crystals. Two cups may provide more elbow room but really aren't needed.

This can be valuable information if you're growing a crystal that requires expensive chemicals. Since a little solution is more than enough for a good sized crystal, consider growing several crystal at the same time. That way if something goes wrong with one, the others can take it's place.

Fall i s the best season to grow crystals by the evaporation technique. Because the slowly decreasing temperatures help keep the growing solution supersaturated.

Late Spring is the hardest time of the year to grow crystals because the increasing temperatures can drive the growing solution toward undersaturation faster that evaporation can drive it toward supersaturation.

The result is that a crystal that grew fast in March may actually decrease in size during April. It's times like that when I fire up my heated growing chamber. Are your crystals shrink ing? Because crystals grow so slowly this can be a tough question to answer.

The key is to look at the sharp corners of the crystal in question. If they looks razor sharp and well defined the odds are excellent that the crystal is still growing. If they looks dull or rounded the crystal is most likely dissolving, usually because the temperature has increased slightly and the growing solution has dropped below the saturation point. First, I remove and dry the crystal. Then I warm the growing solution ten degrees F.

After that I place the jar in a water bath maintained at a temperature five degrees higher than the highest temperature the growing room will get, let the solution sit for a day to come down to the saturation point at the new temperature and put the crystal back in it. Less complicated solutions are to harvest the crystal as is before anymore of it dissolves, or place the growing jar in a bowl of cool water to induce growth again.

Adding an ice cube every few hours to keep the water cool may help. Beware that if the growing solution gets too cold the growth rate could increase to the point where obvious flaws are introduced into the crystal or small crystals may start growing on the surface of the main crystal. Supercharging the evaporative technique to grow crystals faster: If you have a thermostatically controlled growing chamber you can add a few items which will greatly increase the speed at which the crystals grow.

First, prepare the saturated solutions at an elevated temperature, one which the heated chamber can easily and safely support. At higher temperatures the evaporation rate increases. Second, rig up a small fan to blow across the tops of the growing jars.

This blows away the humid air above each jar and again helps to speed evaporation. The only trick with the fan idea is that there needs to be a filter to clean the air, otherwise dust will be blown onto the surface of the growing solutions and could at as nucleation sites for crystals you don't want.

Be aware that speeding the evaporation rate can also speed the formation of crystals on the surface of the growing solutions. Check often to make sure the surface doesn't develop a crust.

The biggest drawback to this system is that the rate of crystal growth can become so fast that the crystals turn out cloudy from internal imperfections. As the following photo of alum crystals shows, growing good quality single crystals is a slow business: The crystal on the extreme left took one week to grow. The others took two, three and four weeks respectively. As you can see, crystal growing isn't a very exciting spectator sport. It may happen that you end up with a quantity of small crystals had have become mixed with dirt or silt.

One way to wash away the silt while dissolving the crystals as little as possible is to place them in a fine strainer and run ice-cold water over them. Because the water is so cold the rate of crystal dissolving will be low. You'll still lose a little crystal, but much less than if you'd used room temperature water. Dry the crystals right away and store them in an air-tight jar. The techniques above were used to produce the following crystals as well as the crystals in the Exotic Crystal Growing section.

Aluminum potassium sulfate alum and its brother potassium chromium sulfate chrome alum are the easiest single crystals to grow and some of the most beautiful. Above is pure alum, normally a glass clear crystal. This example looks white because it got wet by accident and became clouded. Also, this example is 20 years old and the surface has been roughened by handling over the years. Chrome alum is a dark purple color, which looks opaque but when enough light shines through its inner beauty can be seen.

This particular crystal shows the wear and tear of twenty years of handling. Whereas this new chrome alum crystal is clean and sharp. This is also closer to the true appearance of chrome alum. Chrome alum grows faster than alum. This example only took one month to form and measures one and one-half inches from point to point.

Alum and chrome alum are chemically compatible and grow crystals of the same type. Therefore they can be mixed to produce beautifully colored transparent crystals. This is a two-layered crystal. A single crystal of chrome alum was put it in a solution of pure alum to grow a transparent shell around it.

All of the crystals above were grown using a slow-cooling technique. A ten-gallon fish tank insulated with Styrofoam on all six sides and heated with an aquarium heater served as the temperature control system. The next crystal is also alum but this time red food coloring was added to the growing solution. However, the crystal came out absolutely clear, proof that crystallization only allows in those atoms or molecules permitted by the crystalline structure for the crystal. In this case the dye was excluded.

Note the fogginess at the center of the crystal. That's the result of using a standard seed crystal grown on the bottom of a jar and having a string tied around it. It detracts from the quality of the crystal. Note also that although the crystal did not take up any of the dye, the thread,which started off clear, did.

This one-inch tall clear alum crystal took two months to grow using the evaporation technique. The following is the largest single crystal in my collection: It measures a full two inches tall. If you are viewing this at the standard 72 ppi then you are seeing it full size. If it were a good quality diamond it would weigh carats and be worth half a million dollars.

It took four months to grow using the evaporation technique. Growing large sugar crystals. I've had many problems growing good sugar crystals. Part of the problem is that sugar dissolves so well in water that it's difficult to know if I've achieved a saturated solution. What follows is a record of my attempt to grow a large sugar crystal.

I added sugar one tablespoon of sugar at a time to one cup of sugar in a sealed jar and mixed it until all the sugar had dissolved. I'd let it sit for hours between each addition to see if an undissolved sugar fell to the bottom. Three days later I finally managed to saturate the solution at 70 degrees F.

I then added two more tablespoons of sugar and gently heated the solution to degrees F. The solution was a clear light green color. I poured the mixture into a jar, sealed it to prevent evaporation from causing crystals to form on the surface and let it cool. After added so seed crystals I watched in dismay as the dissolved.

Evidently the sugar solution after heating was no longer saturated. After reviewing my experiments with growing rock candy I decided that sugar crystals simply won't form in solutions not cooked to at least degrees F. This means that there are more solid particles in the water than the water can dissolve. Add 3 tbsp When you add it to the jar, let the borax settle at the bottom.

Then, use a spoon or a glass stirrer to combine the water and borax. You should still be able to see white powder floating in the water after stirring for seconds. Be sure to purchase the powder borax from the laundry aisle of the supermarket. Stir in drops of liquid food coloring if you want colored crystals. Pick 1 color for each jar to avoid making muddy colors that can look brown when crystallized.

Remember to stir the solution for a few seconds to distribute the color evenly throughout the jar. However, if you add too much, your crystals may be smaller because the water becomes less saturated as you add the food coloring. Make a shape out of pipe cleaner and tie it to a pencil to make an ornament. Bend a pipe cleaner into a simple shape, like a star, heart, square, or circle. Attach a short piece of pipe cleaner to the top of your shape by wrapping it around the top point, and then wrap the other end of the pipe cleaner around a pencil.

Cut a piece of string to fit inside the jar for the borax to attach to. Then, tie one end around the center of a pencil so it can dangle in the water. Lower the pipe cleaner or string into the jar, resting the pencil on the rim. Hold the pencil horizontally, and carefully move the pipe cleaner or string through the mouth of the jar and into the water.

Let the crystals grow for days before removing them from the jar. Place the jar in a place that is out of the way so the crystals can grow undisturbed for at least 24 hours. After the first day, check on the crystals to see how large they are, and leave them in the solution for up to 2 days to grow larger crystals.

Cut the piece of string or pipe cleaner to display your crystals. The crystals have formed around the fibers of the pipe cleaner or string, so you can safely remove them from the pencil. Simply use a pair of scissors to cut through the top of the string or pipe cleaner, and place your crystals near a window to see its beautiful structure.

Crack or cut 1 egg in half widthwise and carefully rinse out the shells. Over a sink, use a sharp knife to cut through the shell and empty the egg into the drain. If you want a more asymmetrical look, simply crack the egg in half with your hands. Then, run the egg shell halves under warm water to remove any residue. Use a cotton swab to spread a layer of glue on the inside of the shell.

Use a small drop of craft glue or school glue on a cotton swab. Make sure the layers are thin and cover the entire surface area where you want the crystals to grow. Sprinkle a pinch of alum inside of each shell and let the glue dry overnight. Make sure the glue is completely coated with alum, which you can find in the spice aisle of the supermarket. Then, leave the shells undisturbed for at least 6 hours to dry the glue. Place it on a dry surface, like a paper plate, to dry.

Make sure it is completely dry. Cover the crystal with 1 to 2 coats of clear nail polish. Cut the excess string from the crystal. Cover the entire crystal with nail polish. Let the first coat dry before adding the second coat. The nail polish will protect the crystal from deterioration. Display the crystal on a shelf. Place your crystal on a bookshelf or a fireplace mantle. You could also place it on your bathroom counter. Or, illuminate it with light by placing it on a windowsill in your kitchen or bedroom.

Hang your crystal on a wall. Tie a colorful ribbon around your crystal to make a hanging ornament. Hang your crystal on a wall or in a window. Alternatively, place the crystals aside and hang them on your Christmas tree when the season comes. Boil millilitres 0. Pour the water into a pot and place the pot on a burner. Set the heat to medium. The water should start boiling in 8 to 10 minutes. Once the water starts to boil, pour it into a wide-mouth mason jar or a large, glass measuring cup.

Use a spoon to mix the copper sulfate pentahydrate thoroughly in the water. Let the solution set for 2 to 3 days. This will allow tiny crystals to grow at the bottom of the jar. These crystals will be used to grow larger crystals.

Break up the crystals and remove them. Pour the solution out. There will be a solid crystal left at the bottom of the jar. Use a spoon to gently break up the crystal. Pour the crystals out onto a plate. Choose a crystal that is smooth and large. Because copper sulfate is toxic, do not touch it with your bare hands. Put on nylon gloves before touching the crystal. Tie a piece of thread around the crystal.

Double or triple the knot. Trim the short end of the string. Then cut the thread loose from the spool. Tie the loose end of the string around a chopstick, skewer, pencil, or butter knife. Pour the water in a pot. Pour the water into a glass beaker or a wide-mouth mason jar. Add the copper sulfate to the water while it is still hot. Use a spoon to mix the copper sulfate until a cloudy solution forms.

You should see deposits of copper sulfate at the bottom of the jar. Place a coffee filter over a wide-mouth mason jar. Pour the solution through the filter. The filter will remove any impurities in the solution.

Place the crystal in the solution. Put the jar with the crystal aside in a dark cupboard. Let the crystal set for at least 5 days. The longer you let the crystal set in the solution, the bigger it will grow. Re-filter the solution every 5 days if you are letting the crystal grow for more than 5 days. Lift the crystal out of the jar. Grab onto the pencil or the skewer to lift it out of the jar. Place the crystal on a paper plate to dry.

Make sure it is completely dry before coating it with nail polish. Coat the crystal with clear nail polish.

Growing crystals is a fun and educational science project. You learn about solubility and how molecules interact and stack together, plus you get a beautiful souvenir to keep for your efforts. This is a collection of crystal growing projects you can do with materials you . Sep 12,  · Put the jar with the crystal aside in a dark cupboard. Let the crystal set for at least 5 days. The longer you let the crystal set in the solution, the bigger it will grow. You can leave the crystal in the solution for up to a month. Re-filter the solution every 5 days if %(1). Detailed instructions with pictures on how to grow dozens of different types of crystals Fast, simple crystal growing projects A salt garden (Good for classroom demonstrations.) The simplest, fastest crystals of all to grow (Good for classroom demonstrations.) Super-fast crystals (At last that's what one site claimed.