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Which Household Objects Form the Best


Danielle Harden
Augusta, Georgia
A.R. Johnson Magnet School

Table of Contents
Introduction: pg.2
Materials and Methods: pg.
Results: pg.
Discussion and Conclusion: pg.
Works Cited: pg.

Crystals like to form on a substrate. The texture, composition, and surface area of the
substrate influence the formation of the crystals. Im going to use four different household
objects to see which one can form crystals on its surface.
Crystals are structures that form from a repeated pattern of atoms or molecules. Crystals
grow by nucleation. During nucleation, the atoms that will crystallize (the solvent) dissolve into
a solute. The particles of the solute connect with each other; this is larger than a single particle so
more will connect to it. Soon, this crystal nucleus gets so large that it falls out of the solution,
which is called crystallization. Other molecules will continue to attach to the crystal that causes it
to grow until a balance is reached by the crystal and the solute.
There are several different types of crystals. The most common ways of categorization is:
by crystalline structure and by the physical and chemical properties. There are seven groups of
crystal shape and four groups based on properties.
Most crystals develop into regular geometric shapes bounded together by smooth faces.
Common types include: quartz, which forms six-sided prisms topped with pyramid-like
faces; galena and halite which form cubes; and garnets develop 12- or 24-sided
equidimensional forms. However, interference from other minerals can prevent well-
formed crystals. This results in a shapeless mass that may or may not have poorly formed
faces. These types of crystals are much more common then well-formed crystals.
A salt crystal is formed when Sodium (NA) and Chlorine (Cl) molecules share an
ionic bond. While they are in a solution, the Sodium and Chloride are separated by water
molecules (H20). As water evaporates from the solution, the Na and Cl atoms start
bonding 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.
Crystals are used today in several different ways. Diamonds, rubies, sapphires,
and emeralds are the showiest crystals, and have been for several years. They are highly
valued due to their beauty and relative small amounts that exist in nature. In recent years
chemists have been working on methods of creating some of these crystals in the
laboratory and have had a lot of success.
Every single crystal emits vibrations of a specific frequency when an electric current is
passed through it. The original radios were created using vibrating crystals to create the
frequency to transmit signals. As radio technology improved, radio transmitters had several
different crystals to allow transmission on different frequencies. Modern radios have large
number of different frequencies used by radio stations.
Vibrating crystals can be used for time keeping. A quartz clock uses the vibration of a
quartz crystal to measure time. When the crystal has an electric current passed through it, the
crystal will vibrate at 60 hertz (60 times per second).

To recap: there are ways to grow crystals. And there are several different groups and
subgroups of crystals. The hypothesis is that the pipe cleaner will grow the best crystals because
since it is textured, it will be able to hold and capture the solute molecules more easily.
The materials needed are: one bottle of alum, disposable gloves, very warm or hot water 500-mL
beaker or glass measuring cup, four large glasses or jars that can hold 12 ounces, five coffee
stirrers or craft sticks, pipe cleaner, rubber band, metal washer, shiny push pin, and fishing line.
First, put on your disposable gloves and fill the beaker or measuring cup with 400 mL of
hot water. Sprinkle a little alum in the water and stir it with one of the stirrers until it dissolves
completely. If all of the alum dissolves, add a little more and stir again. Keep doing this until it
wont dissolve any more, this is a saturated solution. Next, make a circle out of the pipe cleaner,
small enough to fit into one of the glasses without touching the sides, and tie it to a fresh stirrer
with one of the pieces of thread. Set the stirrer across the top of the glass so the pipe cleaner
dangles inside. Carefully pour the alum solution over the pipe cleaner and set the glass where it
wont be disturbed and it wont get too warm. Repeat this with the other objects. Over the next
several days, keep checking your solutions. Notice whether they form crystals at all or not, and if
so, if they do it at different rates or about the same rate. Also, look closely at the shapes of the
crystals. After the crystals stop growing, you can take them out of their solutions to dry and
display them!
My results of my experiment were very few. I checked on them every day for ten days
and didnt observe any changes. No crystals have formed on any of the objects.
In conclusion, my hypothesis was not correct; the pipe cleaners didnt grow any crystals.
I think that this has happened because the room was too cold and that I didnt put enough alum
powder in the solution.