Friday, November 5, 2010

Growing crystals

Grow your own crystals at home!

You will need:
• Measuring cup (1/2 or 1 cup size)
• Glass mixing bowl (one that holds at least 2 cups)
• Spoon or other stirrer
• Beaker (we used the bottom of a plastic Snapple bottle - you could use a glass bowl or bottom of any plastic soda bottle)
Rock or mineral from your neighborhood (we used a piece of granite - choose a rock that doesn't fall apart when you rub it)
1 cup of boiling water
1/2 cup of copper sulfate powder (you can buy it on eBay - you can use salt, sugar or other substances, but do a Google search for instructions or check here for ideas)

Safety note: Copper sulfate is a mild skin irritant. Work carefully with a parent's supervision, or better yet, wear regular rubber gloves when handling the powder and copper sulfate solution. Never taste the powder or drink the solution.

What to do: Pour 1/2 cup of copper sulfate powder in your cup (don't over fill the cup!). Then pour 1 cup of boiling water in with the powder (may need a PARENT'S or other grown-up's help). After that grab your spoon or other stirrer and mix well so there is no powder left in the glass. Then get your other cup that will hold your rock. Place your rock in the middle of your cup so the edges of the rock are not touching the cup or glass. Next pour the copper sulfate solution in with the rock until the rock is completely covered. Finally, move your glass with the rock and copper sulfate solution to a place where it won't get disturbed. Let the solution evaporate and the crystals grow for TWO WEEKS or more.  

Measuring 1/2 cup of copper sulfate powder
Pouring in 1 cup of boiling water
Mix thoroughly until all the powder has dissolved
Pour copper sulfate solution over your rock in the "beaker"
Several blue copper sulfate crystals after two weeks of growth

What happens: You might see blue crystals start to form on your rock, in the bottom of the cup, and around the rim of the cup in the next day or over the first few days. Do not disturb them if you want them to grow big and all over the rock.

The blue crystals grow on the rough edges of the rock because you've created a saturated solution of copper sulfate and as the water evaporates, the copper sulfate solution becomes more concentrated and copper sulfate crystals precipitate out of the solution. The 1:2 solution of copper sulfate powder to boiling water is almost perfectly saturated at that ratio (the hotter the water, the more powder you'll be able to dissolve).

What happened when CKS tried it: In the picture above, it's showing the crystals in the cup after about two weeks. The crystals mostly cover the rock for CKS and they've gotten pretty big! We tried weaker solutions of copper sulfate and they did not work very well - fewer crystals grew and the crystals never grew very big.

CKS rating: 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 - THIS IS THE BEST ONE YET!YAHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO