Mini-erals; pt. 1

Over the holidays I was given some pretty cool crystals—the only catch was I had to grow them myself.

The lab kit included enough material to grow three different types of crystal; we’ll focus on just one for now, since each one grows at a different rate.

The set up was so simple a child could have done it (ages 10+, adult supervision required).
Materials included:
•A mixing bowl & spoon
•Plastic containers for mineral growth
•Monoammonium phosphate
•Crystal compound: aluminum potassium sulfate, sodium chloride, & brilliant blue FCF
•Glow-in-the-dark moon crystal base
•Cardboard tree
•Water

minerals1

First, the crystal solution had to be made. This was done by dissolving the monoammonium phosphate in boiling water. After letting the solution cool down to about 40°C (104°F), it was poured into a plastic base in which the constructed cardboard tree was then placed:

minerals2

*the solution in this picture appears blue because I accidentally got some of the crystal compound containing brilliant blue FCF in it.. oops!

In the picture above, you can see the solution begin to get absorbed up into the cardboard. This process is called capillary action; as the solution gets wicked up through the tiny fibers in the cardboard the water evaporates, leaving behind the small crystal particles that had previously been dissolved.

24 hours later: All of the solution has been wicked up and evaporated, leaving behind a snowy-white crystal tree!

minerals3

*LaCroix for scale

Coming Soon: Mini-erals, pt.2

 

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