HOW TO GROW YOUR OWN SUGAR CRYSTALS
The procedures you find in the other parts of this web site are all designed to give you a single crystal. Here is a procedure designed to produce many crystals using ordinary sugar.
HERE's WHAT YOU NEED
- 1 cup water (distilled water works best)
- 1-1/2 to 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 tall empty jar
- 1 popsicle stick
- 1 paper clip
- fine string
- small saucepan
HERE'S WHAT YOU DO
- Pour the water into a saucepan and carefully heat it on the stove until the water boils, then turn off the heat.
- Gradually add the sugar, a spoonful at a time, to the hot water and stir after each addition to dissolve. continue adding sugar gradually until no more will dissolve in the water. If necessary, heat the solution to make it clear.
- Let the solution cool a bit and pour it into the tall jar. If the solution is too hot it might break the jar.
- Cut a length of string which is about 6 mm (1/4 inch) shorter than the height of the jar. Attach a paper clip to one end of the string and tie the other end to the center of the popsicle stick.
- Let the solution cool (e.g. over night).
- Moisten the string with water and rub some grains of sugar along the string. Let the string dry.
- Slowly lower the string into the solution, making sure that the paper clip does not touch the bottom of the jar. Rest the popsicle stick across the rim.
- Allow the solution and string to rest undisturbed for several days or weeks.
- Watch what happens!
HERE's WHAT SHOULD HAPPEN
You should see crystals growing in 2 to 5 days. If not, be patient; it might take longer.
The grains of sugar along the string act as 'seeds' on which crystals dissolved in the water are deposited as the sugar solution cools. The longer the string remains in the solution, the larger the crystals will grow.
After a while, the crystals will stop growing. To make them even bigger, carefully remove the crystals on the string. Pour the liquid into a sauce pan, carefully heat again, add more sugar, and repeat steps 2 and 3 above. Put your sugar string back into the solution.
All sugar crystals have the same characteristic shape regardless of size.
Please be patient. Remember, growing crystals takes time.
This procedure was adapted from one used at the Canadian National Museum of Science and Technology in Ottawa.
Here is a recipe for making Rock Candy. This is a science experiment you can eat!
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