Crystal Growing for Students

I have set up a list of Frequently Asked Questions. If you have a question, check this list first. Odds are, someone has asked the question before.

Here are some online resource links you will find interesting and useful for growing crystals and doing science projects:

Here is a good book reference for you to read about growing crystals:

Crystals and Crystal Growing by Alan Holden and Phylis Morrison. MIT Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1982.
Library of Congress Catalog Number: QD921.H58
ISBN for paperback edition: 0-262-58050-0

This book has recipes for growing crystals in Chapter 5. Chapter 4 contains information on methods of growing large crystals. Look in your school or county library for this book. If you want to buy a copy you could ask one of your local bookstores to order you a copy.

Here are some crystal growing recipes excerpted from Crystals and Crystal Growing you can try:

Potassium Ferricyanide

Also known as "Red Prussiate of Potash" and has the chemical formula of K3 Fe(CN)6. This recipe gives red monoclinic crystals.

Dissolve 93 grams of postassium ferricyanide in 200 cc of warm water, cover the solution, and allow it to cool. Do not be especially afraid of the word "cyanide" in the name; this substance is no more poisonous (and no less!) than the others in the list.

Copper Acetate Monohydrate

. Chemical formula: Cu(CH3COO)2.H2O. This recipe gives blue-green monoclinic crystals.

Dissolve 20 grams of copper acetate monohydrate in 200 cc of hot water. If a scum of undissolved material persists, add a few drops of acetic acid and stir well. Cover this solution, and allow it to cool and stand for a few days; usually it will deposit crystals spontaneously.

Calcium Copper Acetate Hexahydrate

. Chemical Formula: CaCu(CH3COO)2.6H2O. This recipe gives blue, tetragonal crystals.

Add 22.5 grams of powdered calcium oxide to 200 cc of water, pour into the mixture 48 grams of glacial acetic acid, and stir until the solution is clear. If there is a small insoluble residue, filter the solution. Dissolve separately 20 grams of copper acetate monohydrate in 150 cc of hot water. Mix the two solutions, cover the mixture, allow it to cool for a day. If it does not deposit crystals spontaneously, let a drop of the solution evaporate and scrape the resulting seeds into the bulk of the solution.

Other Resources

If you have access to the USENET Newsgroups, you can post your questions to the sci.techniques.xtallography newsgroup.

While you are waiting for your crystals to grow, you can visit the Smithsonian's gem collection.

If you still have some questions, you can email one of these scientists who will try to give you an answer.

Dr. Harry Powell
MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology
MRC Centre
Hills Road
Cambridge CB2 2HQ

Mr. Richard H. Deitch
Mineral Collector, Materials Scientist and Crystal Chemist

Jacques Jedwab, Ph.D.

Elias Fernandez, Ph.D.

Bob Cudney
Hampton Research

Dr. Paul D. Boyle
X-ray Structural Facility
Department of Chemistry
North Carolina State University
Raleigh, NC, 27695-8204
Last Updated 02 April 2003