Experiment 3: Magic Salt Crystal Garden
Crystals Experiments Index
1. Simple Crystals on a String. 2. Growing Large Crystals with Seed Crystals. 3. Magic Salt Crystal Garden. 4. Evaporation from a String - Stalagmites and Stalactites. 5. Microcrystals Under the Microscope. 6. Supercooled Chemical Melt.
What you need.
- A tray or shallow bowl.
- Charcoal briquettes or porous brick or sponge.
- 90ml table salt.
- 90ml Mrs. Stewart's Liquid Bluing (sometimes found in soap section of the grocery store).
- 15ml household ammonia.
- Food coloring.
What to do.
A beautiful flower-like growth should should appear after a day or two. A free circulation of air is necessary, and formations will develop best where the air is dry.
To keep it growing, add more bluing/salt/ammonia from time to time. Be careful not to damage the delicate growing crystals when adding more salt mixture. It will "bloom" indefinitely into beautiful rosebuds, coral and crystals.
What can be learned.
The purpose of the porous material (charcoal or sponge pieces) is to provide a means for capillary action to carry the liquid containing bluing and salt up from the main source of liquid. It also speeds evaporation and allows crystals to form across the entire garden.
Additions of bluing and salt on later days should be made by slipping the new liquid in below the rest of the growth. Capillary action will bring this new material up where the evaporation can cause additional formations of crystals.