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FORMING CRYSTALS

Has any of you ever eaten rock candy? Rock candy is a collection of sugar crystals. It is pretty, and it tastes good. A chunk of it dissolves nicely in a cup of tea or
coffee, and a little bowl of rock candy, with little silver tongs, is much more fancy to serve with tea or coffee than the usual sugar bowl with a spoon. Well, we're going to make some rock candy.

We will dissolve one-half cup, plus one tablespoon of sugar in one-half cup of water. This will make a saturated solution. For really nice rock candy, it needs to be boiled
a few minutes.

In order to form nice crystals, there has to be something that won't dissolve placed into the liquid. That "something" will be the nucleus (pronounced "new-clee-uss"). When candy-makers make rock candy, they put sort of a net of thread into the liquid, and the crystals form around the threads. When the crystals have formed after the water evaporates, they just break the crystals, and the threads are easy to remove.

We can do that, or we can suspend some clean washers tied with clean string in the solution. It does need to be in a shallow container, and the nuclei ("new-clee-eye" is the plural of nucleus) shouldn't be on the very bottom of the container.

We'll put the container in a sunny window, and check on it to see the changes as the water evaporates.

When it is dry, we can break the crystals away from the nuclei, and put them into a bowl. Don't they look pretty! The students who are allowed to have a little candy in their diets may have a small chunk to taste.

We can make another batch of saturated sugar-water, and sprinkle some sand onto it. The grains of sand will be the nuclei, and the crystals will probably look much different.

WE MUST NOT TASTE THE RESULT.

 

 
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